Florida Trend: An Investment in Government Relations – The Business of Engaging with the Federal Government

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Getting federal dollars has always been competitive, but an increasingly partisan political atmosphere has made doing business with the federal government even more difficult. At the same time, states like Florida are facing a budget crisis and need federal money now more than ever.

Today, there are new ways of doing business in Washington, D.C. These changes mean that Florida companies and organizations must be more connected to Congress and what is happening nationally — and be more creative — in order to get a piece of the billions of dollars of federal funds available.

Florida companies from a variety of indust ries are connecting with the U.S. Congress and Executive Branch agencies with the help of Florida-based commercial law firm Becker & Poliakoff and its new Washington, D.C. office.

Becker & Poliakoff isn’t new to lobbying. It has maintained a strong Government Law & Lobbying Practice since its inception in 1973.

“Our clients can now rely on us for federal government relations as they have at the local, regional and state levels,” says Bernie Friedman, practice group chair. “As government work becomes more interrelated, it is important for lobbyists to represent clients at all levels of government.”

The firm’s clients include Florida municipalities, Intuit Health, Medica HealthCare Plans, Secure Wrap, Dade Medical College, Surmar Corp., Cortiza Construction Group and software, technology and defense clients.

These clients are leveraging the relationships and experience of the new office’s directors, Omar Franco, former Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, and Clarence L. Williams, former Chief of Staff to former U.S. Congressman Kendrick B. Meek.

“Government relations can offer a company a huge rate of return on their investment,” Franco says.

While some clients are seeking federal funds, others are watching for changes in law that could negatively impact their organizations. Ernesto Perez is president and CEO of Dade Medical College, a Becker & Poliakoff D.C. lobbying client. Perez says that it’s important for the college to be represented at all levels of government.

“Changes to laws and new government regulations can impact our organization as well as our students and employees,” Perez says. “Our proactive approach has helped make sure we are aware of any possible changes and allowed us to have a seat at the table when those changes are being discussed. ”

Becker & Poliakoff also helps clients navigate recent changes such as earmarking, a practice, used by members of Congress to assign federal dollars to particular project that is now under reform. While the money will continue to be spent, the old ways of getting it are no longer as effective, meaning that greater advocacy and outreach is needed to secure funding., Williams says.

“There are hundreds of millions of dollars that are going to get spent,” he says. “If Florida misses out on that federal money, the sacrifices will be made at the county and city level to bridge the gaps.”

Florida’s shift from being mostly tourism-focused to becoming a business and technology center means that it’s essential for Florida companies to understand what’s going on in the federal government in order to be competitive.

For example, Franco says, “The passage of the healthcare reform was a broad brush stroke, and what happens in healthcare reform will be determined by the folks who are making their voices heard in D.C.”

For more on Becker & Poliakoff’s Government Law & Lobbying Practice, visit www.beckerpoliakoff.com/gov or contact Omar Franco via email at ofranco@becker-poliakoff.com or call 202.731.3401.

–Ashley Cisneros
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit www.ashleycisneros.com. You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.

By | 2017-04-28T07:32:34+00:00 July 1st, 2011|Categories: Blog, Samples|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Ashley Cisneros Mejia is a journalist, entrepreneur and marketer. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later as an editor at Florida Trend business magazine. Ashley has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2009, as a technical writer, marketing manager, and public relations practitioner. She also founded two digital marketing agencies in Orlando. Named one of Orlando’s 40 Under 40 and honored by the Women’s Executive Council of Orlando for achievements in media and communications, Ashley earned a B.S. in Journalism and an M.S. in Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida.

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