Grab your bonnet, pull out the seersucker and get ready for a good-old-fashion Easter egg hunt.
Americans are expected to spend about $18.4 billion on Easter this year, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey. That projection is 6 percent higher than last year’s record of $17.3 billion and marks an all-time high in the 14 years the national organization has conducted the survey.
The increase in spending is likely due to how late the holiday falls on the calendar this year. The springtime celebration is nearly three weeks later than it was in 2016, giving folks essentially an extra month to prepare.
According to the survey, about 61 percent of consumers plan to visit family and friends to celebrate the holiday. And since Florida a prime winter location for Northeastern and Midwestern grandparents, you can imagine flights to Florida will be jam-packed this week with children and grandchildren hoping to soak in some rays and spend some quality time with their nonnas and papas.
While folks are looking for good deals on airlines like JetBlue, Southwest, American and Delta to celebrate Easter and Passover with their families, those companies have hired top-notch government affairs teams to look out for their interest during the 2017 Legislative Session.
American Airlines has hired Mike Corcoran, Jeff Johnston, Anita Berry, Matt Blair, and Amanda Stewart with Corcoran & Johnston to work with Dawn White, the company’s in-house lobbyist, on behalf of its interests in front of the Legislature. Delta Air Lines has Nick Iarossi, Andrew Ketchel, Ron LaFace, and Chris Schoonover with Capital City Consulting fighting for its interests this year.
The legacy airlines aren’t the only ones hiring the big-wigs to fight for their rights before the Legislature, so they can help get you to grandmother’s house in time for the Easter Bunny’s arrival.
Southwest Airlines has hired Bill Rubin, Melissa Akeson, Christopher Finkbeiner, and Heather Turnbull with The Rubin Group and Bo Rivard with Harrison Rivard Ducan Buzzett Chtd. to work with Sherri Hull, its in-house lobbyist, during the 2017 Legislative Session. JetBlue has the team of Slater Bayliss, Sarah Busk, Al Cardenas, Christopher Chaney, Justin Day, and Stephen Shiver at The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners on its side this year.
Once you’re here, you’ve got to eat. The National Retail Federation survey found 57 percent of consumers said they planned to cook a holiday meal and 17 percent said they planned to go to a restaurant.
Regardless of how you celebrated Passover — which began at sundown on Monday — or will be celebrating Easter on Sunday, it’s likely a trip to Publix was in order for the fixings for your meal. When the Florida-based grocery chain needs a hand in Tallahassee it turns to Charlie Dudley, Jorge Chamizo, and Teye Reeves with Floridian Partners. The threesome works with the in-house team of Lindsey Napier and Thomas Culligan to advocate for the store in the capital city.
Need a dinner recommendation? Oscar Anderson, David Browning, Christopher Dudley, James McFaddin, and Sydney Ridley might be able to come up with one. The Southern Strategy Group team works with Amanda Conochalla, the in-house lobbyist for Darden Restaurants, to represent the restaurant giant’s interests before the Legislature.
The National Retail Federation Survey found 52 percent of consumers said they planned to go to church on Easter. That’s got to be good news to the Florida Catholic Conference and the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops.
This year, the Florida Catholic Conference celebrated its 42nd annual Red Mass April 5; Reps. Kathleen Peters and Danny Burgess gave readings. When the bishops need an extra hand in the capital city, they turn to Ingrid Delgado, James Herzog, Michael James McQuone, and Michael Sheedy, the organization’s executive director.
Easter isn’t the only springtime holiday being celebrated this week, though. Passover began at sundown on Monday and memorialize the emancipation of Israelites held captive in Egypt after 400 years, culminating with the Exodus and Covenant of Moses.
Florida lawmakers are known to stand with Israel, and this year is no exception. In March, the House adopted a resolution objecting to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334. That U.N resolution, among other things, said Israel’s settlement activities constituted a violation of international law. The House resolution (HR 281) proclaimed the House’s opposition and called for the repeal of the U.N. resolution.
The Senate adopted a similar resolution.
The Florida Association of Jewish Federations has an active presence in Tallahassee, tapping Mario Bailey, Ellyn Bogdanoff, Bernie Friedman, Yolanda Cash Jackson, Nicholas Matthews, and Jeremy Shir with Becker & Poliakoff to help advance its causes in front of the Legislature.
With several threats made against the Jewish community in recent months, you can imagine the Ant-Defamation League is working overtime to combat anti-Semitism. The organization acts as “the 9-1-1 for the Jewish community in Florida” and the ADL Florida Office is on the “front line of ensuring the safety of the Jewish community” in the state.”
Look for David Barkey, the southeastern area counsel for the Anti-Defamation League, to be working on behalf of the organization in Tallahassee.
However you celebrate this springtime, take a moment to enjoy the long weekend before the final stretch of Session.
Chag Pesach, to all! And a very Happy Easter, too.