Pre-session talk from Strum, Goodlette & Kneip
Gov. Charlie Crist's chief of staff, Stane Strum, provided some pre-session analysis Monday at a seminar in the Capitol held by the Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists. FAPL seeks to improve the level of professionalism in the field by offering continuing education credits for lobbyists who attend. (About 30 attended the morning session in the Capitol's Cabinet room).
Strum joined the chiefs of staff for Senate President Jeff Atwater (Robert "Budd" Kneip) and House Speaker Larry Cretul (Dudley Goodlette) in a talk of session priorities and challenges. Strum called Crist Florida's "chief marketing officer or chief advertising officer," whose job each day is partly to "tell Florida's story," such as by trying to create new jobs, or lure the Chicago Cubs here for spring training, or try to get JetBlue to move its headquarters here.
"He's determined to tell the team, 'We're going to finish strong,'" Strum said of Crist and his team of staff members, referring to the lame-duck governor's last session that begins March 2.
Kneip (at left) spoke on videotape, not in person, and predicted "a very tense conversation" over how to balance the budget. One of FAPL's questions to Kneip was "Will anything be easy?" His reply: "I think, when lunch is served, we usually get unanimity on that."
Monday, coincidentally, was Goodlette's one-year anniversary as Cretul's chief of staff. The former Republican House member from Naples arrived in the wake of the Ray Sansom to help restore calm and stability to a House rocked by scandal. In typical fashion, Goodlette gave Cretul all the credit.