Brightest minds in Florida politics: Rich Heffley

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You can’t miss this guy in the halls because of his impressive stature. But you’d be wise to keep him in view for many other reasons.

Rich Heffley is the founder of the Tallahassee-based Heffley & Associates, a trim organization that includes himself and his longtime colleague Kelly Horton. Together they boast one of the higher client-per-lobbyist ratios in town. Principal clients of the pair include the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, AT&T, the Florida Association of Realtors, Florida Beer Wholesalers Association, Florida Medical Association, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, TECO Energy, United States Sugar Corporation.

“Rich has an unmatched ability to cut through the fog or confusion of a conflict and quickly get to the root of the issue,” says strategist Steve Vancore. “If you’re picking sides in a political dodge-ball match, pick Rich first.”

Heffley’s office is in the same plaza as the Republican Party of Florida, as well as Enwright & Associates, and Heffley’s relationships with these neighbors are strong.

“Rich’s political savvy and experience are unparalleled in our industry. But more importantly, he is a dedicated husband and father who would do anything for his family,” said Randy Enwright, another of the brightest minds and expert pols in Florida. “I’m very fortunate to have worked with him for the past 20 plus years.”

Heffley was a Jeb Bush appointee to the Florida Elections Commission, serving from 1999 to 2003 and was a Florida assistant secretary of state in 1997.

Brecht Heuchan, founder of Contribution Link, speaks very highly of his first boss.

“Nobody taught me more about politics – and nobody has a better handle on big picture strategy. He knows what will happen before it does.”

Heffley is one guy who gracefully captures that balance between campaign strategist and legislative warrior. And for those who work with him, he keeps the entertainment and laugh factor high. Perhaps that’s part of the secret to making it in Florida politics for so long.

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.