Brightest minds in Florida politics: Sarah Bascom

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It is hard to write impartial accolades for a good friend, but Sarah Bascom makes doing so easy.

Her expertise — and her bright mind — speak for themselves. This political pro truly does it all: heads up her own full-service public relations firm; participates on boards and takes leadership roles in associations; contributes to syndicated political talk shows; leads communications for campaigns under the national spotlight; charges up the engines for legislative clients; and manages to deflect a fair amount of her own accomplishments onto those around her.

“Best advice I would give anyone in this business is to look for the next generation and teach them.  It is important to be a good teacher and recruit and train others who can do what we do.  However, one of my biggest pet peeves is people taking credit for other people’s careers,” Bascom said. “If you hire someone or give them their first job or they were your intern, don’t take their success from them and act as if you made them.  Sure, you may have given them a foot in the door and taught them and mentored them, but let them own their success from there on.  That is what a true mentor does.”

And there’s no doubt, Bascom has learned from — and learned how to lead from — some of the best in the business.

“Sarah combines abundant talent in media and PR with fantastic political intuition and a killer instinct,” says former House Speaker Dean Cannon. “When a fight starts, I want her in my corner.”

Bascom has served as communications director to former Senate President Jim King; as press secretary in the Senate Majority Office; and as communications director to the Republican Party of Florida.

“She’s a tiger and I predict that in another few years she’ll be buying our entire operation,” Republican consultant Mike Murphy, Bascom’s old boss, told the Miami Herald in 2009.

She also serves on the board of the Economic Club of Florida and is a member of the American Association of Political Consultants and the Florida Public Relations Association.

Bascom’s legislative clients also span an impressive range: AT&T, Dosal Tobacco Corporation, Florida Association of Health Plans, Florida Optometric Association, Florida State Pilots Association, and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

Alia Faraj-Johnson, Senior Vice President at Hill+Knowlton Strategies calls Bascom “a force to be reckoned with.”

“Over the years, we have  either worked collaboratively  in support of an issue or as opponents,” she says. “Despite the different positions we have taken, I have always respected her.  She is a pro who understands the process.”

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.