The latest edition of 4th Floor Files talks with Justin Thames, director of governmental affairs at the Florida Institute of CPAs. FICPA represents more than 20,000 members in front of the Florida Legislature, regulatory agencies and the Florida Board of Accountancy.
Here is the file on Justin Thames.
Significant other? Children? Grandchildren?
Very significant, my wife is the greatest. She balances me out.
In 25 words or less, explain what you do.
I provide grassroots advocacy, fundraising, communications, regulatory and legislative lobbying services for the more than 20,000 members of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Without using the words Democrat, Independent or Republican, conservative or liberal, describe your political persuasion.
I believe in hard work and fairness. Our government provides the framework for our society, but the people should get to decorate.
If you have one, what is your motto?
Treat everyone like you’d like to be treated and if you tell someone you’re going to do something, do it or at least explain why you couldn’t. That’s my grandfather’s motto and it will be my family’s motto long after I’m gone.
During your career, have you had a favorite pro bono client?
Do all the candidates whose campaigns I’ve volunteered on count? If I walk door-to-door in the hot Florida summer for a campaign, it’s not because I’m getting paid.
Three favorite charities.
Movember Foundation USA, Last Hope Rescue Florida and the Red Cross
Any last-day-of-session traditions?
I wear a new bow tie.
What are you most looking forward to during the Legislative Session?
Catching up with friends and making sure CPAs count in the process.
If you could have another lobbyist’s client list, it would be …
Jennifer Green, because I’d still be able to represent the Florida Institute of CPAs and I’d have some other solid clients, too.
Professional accomplishment of which you are most proud?
I’m proud of all the hard work I’ve done to make my way from working at the Governors Club in college to working in the political process for two great associations for the past eight plus years.
Lobbyists are accused of wearing Gucci loafers; do you own a pair of Gucci loafers? If not, why not?
NO, for two reasons: 1) If I’m going to spend that kind of money, I’m going to buy a custom pair of alligator skin boots like Gov. Scott’s; and 2) I’m an American.
Who is your favorite Florida Capitol Press Corps reporter and why?
Matt Dixon. He’s the only one who’s ever invited me to grab a beer with him.
Other than SaintPetersBlog.com, your reading list includes…
Politico.com, Sayfie.com, Accounting Today, presidential biographies and Garden & Gun magazine.
What swear word do you use most often?
Sadly, enough of them to sound like an episode of Kenny Powers from time to time. My grandmother would be disappointed to know that.
What is your most treasured possession?
My most treasured possession is my family. As the song says, “We all need somebody to lean on.” When you work in politics your friends may not always be able to be there, but your family will.
The best hotel in Florida is …
The Ritz-Carlton, Naples and WaterColor Inn & Resort, Destin.
You’ve just learned that you will be hosting a morning talk show about Florida politics. Who are the first four guests you’d invite to appear?
Commissioner Adam Putnam, FSU President John Thrasher, Lt. Governor Toni Jennings and Mac Stipanovich.
I can’t pick just one. These are high on the list: The Goonies, Rocky IV, Rio Bravo and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
When you pig out, what do you eat?
Takeout Chinese and cut-and-bake cookies – house fried rice, pork lo-mein, General Tso’s chicken and peanut butter chocolate chip.
If you could have dinner with a historical figure no longer living, who would it be?
Dempsey Barron and John Wayne, for sure. Maybe Teddy Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson, too. Either way, they all were cowboys.