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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The story behind that glitzy video of Sen. Don Gaetz



At the Senate presidency-designation ceremony for Sen. Don Gaetz Monday, the Senate chamber was darkened and a vintage Ford pickup truck appeared on screen, rumbling down a dusty road in North Dakota. So began a 17-minute-and-34-second video, "From Rugby With Resolve," a glowing tribute (that may be an understatement) to the life of Gaetz, a North Dakota native who will ascend to the Senate's leadership post in 2012. 

Gaetz said his wife, Vicki, son Matt (a state rep) and daughter Erin decided to produce a biographical film as their gift to the Senate's newest rising star. "Okay," Gaetz said he told them, "but keep it short." They didn't. They hired Adam Goodman of The Victory Group, a Tampa-based political consulting firm, who took his camera from North Dakota to Miami to produce the video, and enlisted Peter Thomas of Naples, one of TV's most familiar voice-over specialists, to narrate, adding yet another Hollywood touch.

"Yeah, they sort of got carried away," Gaetz said of his family. The video, which can be seen here on The Victory Group website, features cameo appearances by former Gov. Jeb Bush, lobbyist Ron Book, Gaetz's former business partner Hugh Westbrook and Dr. Wayne Sanstead, North Dakota's education commissioner. How much did it cost? Gaetz didn't know: "They haven't gotten the bill yet."

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a former Senate president (2008-2010), did not have a biographical video shown at his designation. Laughing, Atwater said: "I don't think we had quite the life story to share. It would have been very short."  

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 10:35am]


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