“4th Floor Files” talks to Kelly Cohen about Orlando, a silver ring and french fries

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Returning this week are the “4th Floor Files”, a question-and-answer feature that interviews many of the state’s top lobbyists. Each day at 4 p.m. during the legislative session, a new ‘file’ is posted on SaintPetersBlog. Each lobbyist is being asked the same general questions, although the questionnaire may be modified going forward. There is no rhyme or reason as to who has been selected to be interviewed. And there is little editing of the responses (even for spelling).

Check out the new repository for the files at 4thFloorFiles.com. And if you are a lobbyist interested in answering the questionnaire, please email me at saintpeter4@gmail.com. 

Today’s edition features Kelly Cohen of Southern Strategy Group. Her clients include I-4 Development Partners and R P Funding, Inc. Here’s the file on Kelly:

Significant other? Children? Grandkids?  

My family consists of my significant other, Scott Lloyd, and our cat, cleverly named Kitty.

In 25 words or less, explain what you do.  

Primarily I am a problem solver. I see the issues for what they are, analyze and attack them logically and strategically until solved.

One time a woman asked me what I did, when I responded, she first looked puzzled. Suddenly something clicked and she got a huge smile on her face, stating she knew exactly what I did, “You take people to dinner.” Our local restaurant community does refer to me as an economic engine so maybe there is some truth in her job description.

Without using the words Democrat, Independent or Republican, conservative or liberal, describe your political persuasion.   

Most importantly, I am proud to be an American and a Floridian. I believe we are at our best when we work together, treat others compassionately and humanely and focus our energy on improving our state and our country.

During your career, have you had a favorite pro bono client?

Parramore Kidz Zone

Three favorite charities. 

Parramore Kidz Zone, Clean the World, Nap Ford Community School

Any last-day-of-Session traditions?

Congratulate my partners on a job well done.

What are you most looking forward to during the 2014 Legislative Session.  

I am excited to go to battle with my partners from all of our Florida offices.

If you could have another lobbyist’s client list, it would be…

I love my clients and would not want to walk in anyone else’s shoes.

Professional accomplishment of which you are most proud?

Being asked to be the managing partner of Southern Strategy Group’s first sub-state office.

Lobbyists are often accused of wearing Gucci loafers; do you own a pair of Gucci loafers? If not, why not? 

Since I am on my feet running around most days, expensive shoes are a bad investment. My shoes often have a shelf life of 3 to 4 months. My go to brands are J Crew, Banana Republic and Calvin Klein.

Who is your favorite Florida Capitol Press Corp reporter and why?

I always support my local community so it has to be Orlando Sentinel’s Aaron Deslatte

Other than SaintPetersBlog.com, your reading list includes…

Orlando Business Journal, Sayfie Review, Bungalower, Florida Trend, the Atlantic and HBR. I check Twitter throughout the day.

What swear word do you use most often?

It has been said that I have a unique talent of putting together multiple swear words into a cohesive sentence.

What is your most treasured possession? 

A simple silver ring that both great-grandmother and grandmother wore

The best hotel in Florida is…

When I have clients or friends visit, I always recommend our downtown hotel the Grand Bohemian. If I am going on vacation, I retreat to the Ritz Cartlton Amelia Island. Salt is one of my absolute favorite restaurants.

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?

Jon Stewart, Buddy Dyer, Sally Bradshaw and Carl Hiassen

Favorite movie.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Before the ‘gift ban’, what was your favorite restaurant in Tallahassee? What is your favorite today?

Governor’s Club.

When you pig out, what do you eat?

French fries are my kryptonite.

If you could have dinner with a historical figure no longer living, who would it be?

My grandfather. He helped create who I am today and I would love to have a conversation with him. He passed away when I was too young to appreciate his wisdom.


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.