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“4th Floor Files” talks to Kevin Cate about his Christmas videos, Whitney Ray, and the rest of Cate clan

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Not a lobbyist, Kevin Cate, President of Cate Communications, amplifies the efforts of those working inside and out of the Capitol. 

Significant other? Children? Grand kids?

My enchanting wife Ashley, my gorgeous daughters Ainsley and Emery, and a baby boy coming this summer!

In 25 words or less, explain what you do.

I make change.

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

I believe in social equality, competitive capitalism, and unrelenting scientific progress.

If you have one, what is your motto?

Make your great grandkids proud.

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

When I worked for Alex Sink, we were able to help pass a bill that allowed the families of firefighters killed during training to receive death benefits. A courageous widow and her young son championed the bill. Darren Soto and Carey Baker were the sponsors and Will Weatherford went out of his way to make it happen. It was around the time my first daughter was born and it was incredibly emotional. 

Three favorite charities.

Every year my firm creates a funny Christmas web video and donates money to charity based on views. Our last video featured Troy Kinsey and a cameo from Governor Charlie Crist – so we let the Governor choose the charity. He chose Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA), a charity that helps stop domestic violence. The more I learned about this cause, the more I wanted to contribute.

Personally, my favorite charity is Charity Water. Last year for my birthday, my friends and I helped raise $2,930 to fund clean water projects throughout the world. It was a bipartisan effort with former Rep. Scott Plakon, a Republican, and Dave Beattie, my favorite Democratic pollster, matching donations.

Any last-day-of-Session traditions?

During my first session working in the CFO’s office, our legislative director (and now super-lobbyist) Michael Carlson organized a friendly competition to predict the exact moment of Sine Die. I literally picked the exact minute it happened. I also happened to have lunch with then Senator Mike Fasano that day so Carlson still believes I had insider information. To carry on that tradition, my firm started the Sine Die challenge, open to everyone. We will do it again this year. Follow me to play: @KevinCate.

What are you most looking forward to during the 2013 Legislative Session.

Everything. This is my favorite time of year.

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

No way. I am obsessed with my clients.

Professional accomplishment of which you are most proud?

My PR firm continues to grow and thrive despite the challenges we faced when we opened in 2010 – the recession, GOP dominance of Tallahassee, and competition from large, more traditional PR firms. I love that I can pick and choose my clients and make change happen everyday.

Also, briefing Barack Obama for interviews in 2008 was pretty amazing.

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

The other day at lunch, Dara Kam of the Palm Beach Post told me that she liked my shoes. They aren’t Gucci. They are Guess. And I bought them at Marshalls. But if Dara likes them, they must be sweet.

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

Capitol News Service’s Whitney Ray is marrying into the family, so not only is he my favorite, I love him. I still remember showing him my little sister Elizabeth’s reporter demo reel. He said he was impressed. I guess I didn’t realize how impressed he was until he showed up at my door with a bottle of wine.

Other than SaintPetersBlog.com, your reading list includes…

Everything. I am in a lifelong quest to out-read everyone, especially about politics and science. 

What swear word do you use most often?

I don’t want to type a bad word, but the worst swear words that I don’t say: “no comment.”

What is your most treasured possession?

My family.

The best hotel in Florida is…

My sister is now the press secretary for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, so I’ll say any hotel with a FRLA membership so I don’t get in trouble.

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?

Charlie Crist and Rick Scott, with moderators Marc Caputo and Aaron Deslatte.

Favorite movie.

I’m hoping the new Great Gatsby.

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

My favorite quick restaurant in town right now is Sahara Greek Lebanese Café, introduced to me by my friend and culinary expert Judi Spann.

When you pig out, what do you eat?

I’m a sucker for hibachi.

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

I saw Nick Iarossi already picked Jesus, who would have been my first choice. I would love to catch Isaac Newton, Thomas Jefferson or Charles Darwin up to speed. 

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.

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