Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

“4th Floor Files” talks to Patrick Slevin about being a mayor, Catholicism, and George Patton

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Not a lobbyist, Patrick Slevin, as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Tallahassee office of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, influences the Fourth Floor of the Capitol. Here’s the file on Patrick. 

In 25 words or less, explain what you do. 

Define reality by influencing perceptions with persuasive messages, images and surrogates. 

Significant other? Children? Grand kids? 

Married to Eileen Slevin for over 21 years. Proud father of three children: Brendan Liam 18, Kathleen Joan 12, and Mary Catherine (who became a victim of SIDS). 

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

Freedom doesn’t mean freeloader.  Government programs should be focused on providing a hand up and not a handout. Humanity is inherently good natured and does not need government interfering in our lives. Capitalism has improved the quality of life of society, but it needs to be held accountable by better, not bigger government.  

If you have one, what is your motto?  

“If you have one foot in the future and one foot in the past, then you piss all over today.” 

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

Reform Party of Florida during the 2004 ballot crisis in Tallahassee. Ralph Nader was the party’s presidential candidate and the Florida Democratic Party was trying to get him removed from the ballot to gain more votes for John Kerry. Had we not succeeded in defeating the Democrats, then the 20+ other minority parties in Florida would have been disenfranchised as well. 

Three favorite charities.  

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Catholic Charities, Colon Cancer Alliance 

Any last-day-of-Session traditions?   

Celebrating with colleagues, clients and friends that evening. 

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

Gaming Study process and how it will set the tone for the Florida legislature.  

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

We collaborate with several PR agencies in Tallahassee, which is very exciting and gratifying. 

Professional accomplishment of which you are most proud?   

In 1996, I was elected the youngest mayor in the history of Safety Harbor, FL located in Pinellas County, as well as one of the youngest GOP mayors in the nation.   I was 27 and for 3 years as mayor, worked hard with commissioners/constituents to cut property taxes, reduced crime, decreased litigation, increased CRA sales revenues, improved employee morale- defeating unionization, won the most beautified Main Street award in Florida, hired a new city manager and most importantly, generated positive media coverage that reversed the city’s poor reputation for political squabbles and infighting. 

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

No to the Gucci. I’m happy with my 8 year old pair of Ferragomos that I wear for public speaking and pitches.  I like Johnston & Murphy and Brooks Brothers for pounding the pavement and standing in long committee meetings.  

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

David Royse of News Service of Florida. David was the first reporter I met after NFIB relocated me to Tallahassee in 2001 – he was with the AP at the time. It was my first impression that had set the tone for good relations with the entire capitol press corps to this day. 

Other than SaintPetersBlog.com, your reading list includes…  

News Service of Florida, LobbyTools, Sayfie Review, The Hill, Politico, WSJ, Bloomberg, PRNews, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. 

What swear word do you use most often?  

S.O.B. 

What is your most treasured possession?  

A Crucifix I found in an abandon wing of the Catholic hospital where I worked as a teenager. The Spirit has been with me ever since.   

The best hotel in Florida is… 

The Tradewinds Island Resort in St. Pete Beach.  They were a client and the sunsets on the beach are beautiful. 

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, Rick Scott , Reince Priebus and Peter Schorsch

Favorite movie.

Almost want to say Lucky Number Slevin, given the cool title, but hands down it’s A Christmas Story, a 1980 movie about Christmas in the old days, but the movie never gets old.

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

The Front Porch.

When you pig out, what do you eat?

Turkey and red wine on Thanksgiving – my favorite holiday pig out.

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

General George S. Patton the greatest general in WWII. He didn’t believe in digging foxholes and always kept moving and taking the offensive.  Love his motto, “Lead them by the nose, while kicking them in the ass.”

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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