Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

4th Floor Files talks with Kirk Pepper about creating wealth, fixing problems and just being nice

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Over the course of the past decade, Kirk Pepper has served as a top Florida House aide, a political adviser to both House Speaker Dean Cannon and former state Rep. Chris Dorworth as well as helping elected officials in seven states in the Southeast.

Pepper also served as deputy director of the Republican Party of Florida during the 2008 election cycle and as victory director in 2006. In addition, he played a key role in Missouri for the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.

Here is the file on Kirk Pepper:

Significant other? Children? Grand kids?

I have been married for 13 years to Nichole and have three wonderful children. Max, 6, is all boy and as smart as it gets but has a hard time focusing (not sure where that comes from). Lillie Wren, nearly 3, is the girliest girl you’ll ever meet and has a truly sweet disposition until you anger her, at which time you should watch out. Lastly, Isabella, 11 months, is the easiest baby I’ve ever been around; she smiles at everyone and enjoys everything she sees.

In 25 words or less, explain what you do.

I solve problems. Sometimes problems are unexpected, sometimes they are foreseen, often they’re bigger than individual clients. But I fix problems, every day.

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

I believe that government exists to defend its citizens, to create mutually beneficial infrastructure and to allow market forces to create wealth for those who work more efficiently and effectively than others.

If you have one, what is your motto?

Just be nice. Until the time comes to not be nice.

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

I don’t speak Greek, but “pro bono” sounds like something I am allergic to.

Three favorite charities.

My former pastor, Mark Michael, is a church planter in Europe and a truly class act. I give to his church planting network, to ECHO in Tallahassee, which supports the homeless community in need, and to my church.

Any last-day-of-session traditions?

My usual tradition is to change into jeans, boots and a ball cap as soon as possible after the gavels come down. By the time Day 60 has rolled around, I am completely over wearing a suit.

What are you most looking forward to during the 2015 legislative session?

I have looked forward to being back around the legislative process after a brief two-year hiatus. I missed working with my friends in the Legislature and I find the process to be a fun one to work around.

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

Chris Dudley’s. Anyone who can pull off “really short and really effective” as well as he does deserves a little admiration.

Professional accomplishment of which you are most proud?

Not one person in my family is politically connected in any way. To this day, no one in my family has ever even donated to a political campaign. Yet I’ve had the chance to work for and become friends with state legislators, congressmen, governors and to have run a state for a successful presidential campaign at a very young age. I am in awe of all the opportunities that I have been afforded to me every time I think of my career.

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

No. Have you met me?

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

I generally stay off the press corps radar fairly well. My favorite reporters are the ones who know and respect my expectations when it comes to conversations they have with me.

Other than, your reading list includes …

I usually read whatever interesting piece of news that I happen to see come across my Twitter feed. If you can write a catchy headline, I’m probably reading your article, if I have a moment.

What swear word do you use most often?

Me? Swear? Never!

What is your most treasured possession?

Love — true, unwavering, unyielding, love.

The best hotel in Florida is …

My favorite hotel is the Boca Raton Resort and Club. I truly admire the craftsmanship  and design that went into it. It is a beautiful building. It also happens to hold some truly special memories for me.

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?

Eric Draper, Eric Eikenberg, Robert Coker and Gaston Cantens. Just for the fun of and currency of the topics.

Favorite movie.

Tie: The Godfather, for its strategic outlook on business and life and Streetcar Named Desire for its pure feeling.

When you pig out, what do you eat?

There is little in the way of food that I don’t enjoy; however, I particularly enjoy the Ostrich Filet and Duck Two Ways along with a side of truffle mac and cheese at Cluster and Hops in Tallahassee.

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

Mark Twain. Anyone who can be as entertaining in writing as he was would be an amazing dinner guest.

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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