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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rick Scott turns to top lobbyist to help finance inauguration



Republican Gov.-elect Rick Scott, who ran against the Tallahassee "insiders" to blame for letting the state skid off the tracks, has appointed the head of one of the Capital city's largest lobbying firms to raise money for the inauguration. Scott's celebration will include a number of events around the leading up to the actual inauguration on Jan. 4 in Tallahassee.

Brian Ballard -- whose clients include the Corrections Corporation of America, Florida Power & Light and the New York Yankees -- will head Scott's finance committee along with his wife, Kathryn Ballard. Ballard was among the many Tallahassee lobbyists who backed the wrong horse in the primary, but after Bill McCollum lost he moved quickly to Scott's side and helped raise money for the eventual winner.

Scott also announced former  U.S. Ambassador Francis Rooney and Kathleen Rooney as inauguration co-chairs; Spencer Geissenger is executive director of the inauguration and Carrie O’Rourke is finance director. Keep reading for the official bios.

Inaugural Co-Chairs - Ambassador Francis and Kathleen Rooney:  Ambassador and Mrs. Rooney will serve as the. Co-Chairs of the 2011 Florida Inaugural Committee.  Ambassador Rooney is the former United States Ambassador to the Holy See and is CEO of Rooney Holdings, an investment and holding company based in Naples, Florida.  He serves as a trustee of the Naples Community Hospital, Naples, and the Advisory Board of the Panama Canal, Republic of Panama.  Mrs. Rooney serves as a Trustee of the Naples Children and Education Foundation and is involved in many other community organizations including the Naples Botanical Gardens.

Inaugural Co-Finance Chairs - Brian and Kathryn Ballard: Mr. and Mrs. Ballard will serve as the Co-Finance Chairs for the 2011 Florida Inaugural Committee.  Brian is the managing partner of Smith & Ballard.  He formerly served as Chief of Staff to Governor Bob Martinez and is a graduate of the University Of Florida College Of Law.  Kathryn Ballard has served on the Board of the Florida Special Olympics, and the Board of Florida State University’s College of Human Sciences, of which she is a graduate.  Mr. and Mrs. Ballard served as Chairmen of the 2007 Inaugural.

Inaugural Executive Director - Spencer Geissinger: Mr. Geissinger will serve as the Executive Director for the 2011 Florida Inaugural Committee. He recently served as the Director of Scheduling and Advance for the Rick Scott for Governor campaign. Previously, Mr. Geissinger was the Deputy Assistant to the President for Operations and Advance for President George W. Bush, where he oversaw the seamless integration of dozens of military, security, and operational agencies and components involved in the execution of the Presidential traveling footprint. He has orchestrated multi-national summits and planned four Presidential Inaugurals.

Inaugural Finance Director - Carrie O'Rourke: Ms. O'Rourke will serve as the Finance Director for the 2011 Florida Inaugural Committee. She recently served as the Deputy Director of Finance for the Rick Scott for Governor Campaign. Ms. O'Rourke has extensive political and non-profit fundraising experience.  She previously served as the finance director for Bill McCollum's gubernatorial campaign and on Rudy Giuliani's Florida All-American Leadership Team.  Ms. O'Rourke recently returned from seven years in Central Asia where she worked for several governmental and private organizations (including Peace Corp and Mercy Corp).  During her time in Central Asia, she directed a diverse agenda of developmental and national infra-structure projects designed to modernize this volatile and critical region’s economic, social and political structures.

Additional details, including official website and additional host committee members, will be announced in the coming days and weeks.


[Last modified: Monday, November 15, 2010 6:29pm]


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