TAMPA — At his final meeting as chairman of the Hillsborough County Commission in November, Les Miller Jr. told his colleagues he intended to play a lot of golf in retirement.
“My back wouldn’t allow it, so that scratched that,” Miller said Wednesday.
Miller, who turns 70 in April, said he has stayed busy working with his Masonic Lodge and his fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi and “I was still getting phone calls from people needing assistance because they were used to giving me a call and had my number.”
The people with his number apparently included Shumaker Advisors Florida, which announced Wednesday that Miller and former Hillsborough Commissioner Sandra Murman will be joining the lobbying firm. Both left the commission in November 2020 after 10 years.
“Les and Sandy’s insight and experience solving problems at every level will not only benefit our clients, it will continue to make our Tampa Bay region a fantastic place to live and work,” Shumaker Advisors Florida President and CEO Ron Christaldi said in a released statement. “These two tremendous leaders have demonstrated an extraordinary ability to work in a bipartisan manner to better our community and tackle the toughest and most complex issues.”
Murman, in a statement, said was thrilled “to begin the work of helping clients throughout the region with priorities that will surely move our community forward.”
Before joining the commission, Miller served as Democratic leader in both the state House of Representatives and Florida Senate and Murman served eight years in the House where she was the first Republican woman to be speaker pro-tempore. And, after departing the commission, Miller and Murman worked together on a newspaper column opposing the proposed ferry connecting south Hillsborough County to MacDill Air Force Base.
Both will work on state and local issues, said Christaldi. However, they cannot lobby Hillsborough commissioners just yet. Departing commissioners are prohibited from lobbying their former colleagues for two years.
“There is a lot of other local work to be done by them,” Christaldi said.
Miller said he hoped to “go to areas they (Shumaker) have not tapped” including “areas in my side of the aisle and my side of the town and the county that they hadn’t looked at or given much thought process to and I wanted to do that.”
But he also said he didn’t want to be pigeon-holed.
“I don’t want to be locked into one issue. I don’t want to be locked into one issue that is totally an African-American issue because that’s just not me. I don’t want to do that.”
Shumaker Advisors Florida is a subsidiary of the Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick law firm that has offices in Tampa, Sarasota and in four other states. Shumaker Advisors Florida describes itself as a full service advocacy firm providing government relations consulting on the local, state, and federal levels. The firm’s clients in Tallahassee include mental health facilities, Sykes Enterprises, Hillsborough public schools and others.
Shumaker’s principals include former U.S. Rep. David Jolly who is executive vice president. Tuesday, Shumaker announced it had added Mark Sanford to its South Carolina office. Sanford is a former congressman, presidential candidate and South Carolina governor whose career was marred by an extramarital affair.