Meet Cory Guzzo — one of the “30 under 30″ rising stars in Florida politics

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Tallahassee-native Cory Guzzo, 26, graduated from Florida State and went to work for a Fortune 500 Insurance Company but soon decided that 14-hour days in a cubicle were not for him and set out to work in the process that he had grown up around, despite his father’s advice to “stay out of this business”.

He worked as an aide to Rep. Seth McKeel and Rep. Doug Holder, as RPOF field staff, and as fundraising and campaign director to Rep. Chris Dorworth.

When beginning a project or campaign, Cory looks first for compatibility. “Managing or working for a campaign for somebody you don’t get along with or don’t believe in, will probably not end well,” he writes. Cory values friendship as a key to survival in the competitive arena of politics, and believes that politics needs more philanthropically oriented events. 

Cory has learned some lessons as well. “When things go surprisingly awry, stay calm, don’t place blame on anybody, accept the circumstances and move forward,” he writes. “If people believe in you, you can recover just as quickly as everything can fall apart.”

Latest tweet from @coryguzzo: “Nice to be spending a couple days in Sarasota. @RepDougHolder always rolls out the red carpet.”

Here is Cory in his own words:

I am 26 years-young.

I live in Tallahassee … Am from Tallahassee …. I went to school at Florida State University. I hope to visit a FSU National Championship Football Game soon enough.

I entered politics because… The Governors Club Lounge looked like so much fun! In all seriousness, after college I worked corporately for a Fortune 500 Insurance Company and decided that 14-hour days in a cubicle weren’t for me. I grew up around this process so I thankfully decided to give it a shot.

One principle I always put above politics is… The value of friendships.  This is such a competitive arena that many times friendships are lost when politics are put first over friendships. It’s much more comfortable to walk the halls of the Capitol knowing the person walking by you doesn’t dislike you.

Person or people who gave me my first shot: Representative Seth McKeel, thankfully I passed a tough interview with Kirk Pepper that helped sealed the deal.

I’ve already worked for/on: Legislative Aide to Representative Seth McKeel, RPOF Field Staff, Fundraising and Campaign Director for Representative Chris Dorworth, Legislative Aide to Representative Doug Holder.

When I begin a project or first work on a campaign, I look for… Compatibility. Managing or working for a campaign for somebody you don’t get along with or don’t believe in, will probably not end well.

I’ve been blessed to have these people as my mentors: My father Gary Guzzo, who always told me to stay out of this business. Seth McKeel, one of the most honorable people I know and always there at the touch of a button. Trey McCarley and Kris Money, two young guns with great advice and experience for the younger generation in politics. Doug Holder, most importantly a great friend, but also a valuable knowledge base on Politics and Business. 

The people I most admire in politics are: Speaker Weatherford, a genuine person behind closed doors as well as in front of the camera. I’m just glad he is not eligible for this list by a few years or I just might’ve been bumped.  Commissioner Putnam as well. It’s crazy how many things he has accomplished at such a young age and to put it simply, he’s such a good guy and somebody you want to hang out with and just listen to what he has to say.

One lesson I’ve already learned is… When things go surprisingly awry, stay calm, don’t place blame on anybody, accept the circumstances and move forward. If people believe in you, you can recover just as quickly as everything can fall apart.

If I wasn’t working in politics, I’d be working in… Caddying. I caddied for my buddy Hudson Swafford in college during the summers. One summer we qualified for the US Open at Pebble Beach and led throughout most of the first round. I’m good with numbers and keeping things jovial.   

In ten years, you’ll read about me… Most likely promoting our annual charity fundraiser, SmithaPalooza (www.smithapalooza.com), which benefits Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Big Bend. Politics needs more philanthropically oriented events!

You can connect with me via Twitter @CoryGuzzo

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.