Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

“4th Floor Files” talks to Screven Watson about Disney, the North Fla. Democratic Caucus and Jim Krog

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This installment of the “4th Floor Files” features Screven Watson of VancoreJones Communications. His clients include Florida Professional Firefighters and United States Sugar Corporation. Here’s the file on Screven:

Significant other? Children? Grand kids?

Sabrena Watson from Holmes County, Florida & Daughter Shelby Watson

In 25 words or less, explain what you do.

Advocate issues of importance to certain individuals, corporate and Associations in front members of State of Florida’s Legislative and Executive Branches of Government

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

A pragmatic Centrist. 

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

Disney.  No, I don’t represent them in Tallahassee.  I just go to their parks and hotels so often and spend wads of cash that they then in turn use to pay other lobbyist to lobby for them.  I once did pro bono work in Tallahassee and DC for increased funding for research and education concerning food allergies in Children.  Also worked on the “Save our Summers” bill that would not allow school districts to start their fall classes any sooner than 15 days before Labor Day.

Three favorite charities.

When donating money I am a sucker for anything involving children or animals.   This past summer, I helped my daughter run a lemonade stand where she gave her proceeds to the Leon County Animal Shelter.  I am also active in raising money for the Tallahassee Museum.

Any last-day-of-Session traditions?

The last several years it has been sipping an adult beverage with some of Florida’s finest (Firefighters and Police Association Members).   Prior to that it also involved enjoying an adult Beverage with the North Florida Democratic Caucus (Rod Smith and AL Lawson).

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

May 3rd.

Actually there are some very interesting issues confronting the 2013 legislature.   Strengthen & Changing Election & Ethic Laws; Everglades Forever issues, the Study of Gaming in Florida and the issues surrounding public sector Pensions.   

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

Ballard Group

Professional accomplishment of which you are most proud?

Rather than one accomplishment I would say I am most proud of my longevity.  For example,  I have worked with Robert Coker and US Sugar Inc. for a decade.  If you are not hard working, effective and trustworthy — you don’t last very long in this town.   I pride myself on being able to have friends and to be trusted by people on both of sides of the political aisle.  As well as by Labor Associations, Lawyers and Business interests across Florida.   I take a great deal of pride in that.

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

Nope, I am a Democratic Lobbyist; we can’t afford Gucci!   I would say I prefer Nike tennis shoes but if I start wearing tennis shoes around the Capitol people will accuse me of channeling the legislative ghost of Lois Frankel. 

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

It is hard to pick just one.  The Florida Press Corps has many truly talented, non-biased and insightful journalists.  But to the question I would say, Steve Bousquet  I have known Steve since the late 80’s.  Steve is just as aggressive, fair and on top of his game as he has always been.

Other than, your reading list includes…

Saint Peters Blog, Sayfie Review, Tallahassee Democrat, Sentinel Papers, Tampa Papers, Miami Herald and Palm Beach Post.

What swear word do you use most often?

Dadgum.   Ok, that is Bobby Bowden (even though I do actually use it)

I would say it involves Bull Defecation. 

What is your absolute favorite item of clothing in your closet? Give us the fabric, the brand, the store and the price if possible.

Seriously, I prefer to Dress Down more than I like to dress Up.  I love Jeans and Sweatshirts and ball caps.   My favorite items are probably three new sweat tops I have from Animal Kingdom, Nautica and FSU.   The FSU was a $45.00.   The Nautica was a gift.  The Disney’s Animal Kingdom sweatshirt –let’s just say I needed a line of credit on my home.   

The best hotel in Florida is… 

Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  There is nothing like sipping a glass a red wine while sitting on your balcony watching Giraffe, Zebras and Wildebeest and Ankole Cattle on the Savannah.  You totally forget you are in Osceola County —-it is Serengeti.  Not to mention their award winning Restaurants Jiko, BOMA and the new Saana at Kidani Village.  (Jiko has the largest collection of South African Wines in the US)

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?

Sally Bradshaw, Mac Stipanovich, Rod Smith and Jack Latvala.   The intelligence, humor and institutional knowledge of Florida Politics sitting around the one table would be insightful and simply fascinating. 

Homeland, Mad Men, The Walking Dead … which one do you watch, which one do you DVR and which one do you skip?

All of them I skip.  Even though I have heard great things about Homeland.  I am Boardwalk Empire, Justified on FX, Modern Family and ESPN type of guy.

Favorite movie.

Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  Schindler’s List would be Second.

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

Before:  Silver Slipper

After:  Coosh’s Bayou Rouge (north of town).  

When you pig out, what do you eat?

5 pounds of Boiled Crawfish and Abita Beer from Coosh’s Bayou Rouge

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

Walt Disney, Earnest Hemingway, Abraham Lincoln and former Tallahassee lobbyist Jim Krog.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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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