City of Deltona hires ex-Speaker Dean Cannon’s Capitol Insight lobbying firm

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Capitol insight, the Tallahassee lobbying firm led by former House Speaker Dean Cannon, has added the City of Deltona as its newest client.

Cannon’s company won out over at least two other firms to start representing Deltona in the Legislature, reports Mark Harper in the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

In support of the decision, Commissioner Webster Barnaby said Capitol Insight has “a vast amount of experience” and wisdom.

“(Capitol Insight) was my top pick,” Commissioner Fred Lowry also told the News-Journal.

Ballard Partners Inc. was also in the running.

“Ballard has a great reputation, Lowry added, “but that was a huge firm, where this firm was a little smaller and maybe could give us more time.”

Cannon will need to be patient, at least for a few months, before representing Deltona personally for the Legislature.

As part of his extensive experience he brings to Capitol Insight, Cannon served eight years as a state legislator, two as House speaker. According to Florida statutes – called the “revolving-door law” — legislators must wait two years before lobbying the legislative body they served; it prevents lawmakers from immediately lobbying their own legislative body. Cannon left the House in 2012. 

However, Cannon can still call on the Governor’s Office, while other Capitol Insight partners, including Larry Cretul, another former House speaker, can lobby the Legislature until 2014.

City Manager Dave Denny said that Cannon’s waiting period did not factor in the decision to hire Capitol Insight. Mayor John Masiarczyk also believed the issue had no part in their choice.

“Should it have been brought out?” Masiarczyk told the News-Journal. “It’s not an issue for me.”

“I don’t think it was material to the decision about which firm to choose,” Cannon said in an interview after the Monday meeting. “You hire the firm, not an individual.”

Commissioners voted to negotiate an agreement with Capitol Insight for up to $50,000 in lobbying services.

The next step for Deltona is setting legislative priorities for Capitol Insights to focus; one is to call for an enterprise zone designation, which will encourage business development.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.