Debuting today: The latest edition of INFLUENCE Magazine featuring this year’s ‘Golden Rotunda’ winners

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Were it not for Nicholas V. Iarossi, I may very well have won election as student body president at Florida State University.

During my time on college, I probably was the most involved Greek (fraternity, not nationality) guy on campus. By my senior year, my ego told me I deserved to be SG president. I was supported by my fraternity and the houses of my running mate and her boyfriend. We had a plan, supporters, and ambition in spades.

Then I ran into the Iarossi buzzsaw.

The kind of man you describe as “strapping,” Nick was the golden boy of his fraternity — and most sorority houses. He was, as he is now, incredibly smart, focused, and considerate. Back then, he even drove a Camaro.

Nick was JFK to my Nixon. So when he called me in the summer of 1996 to gently explain to me that while I had three or four Greek houses behind me, he had three dozen, I knew I was beat. I quickly made a deal to run as a senator under his banner, while Nick went on to crush his opponents.

I could not know then that 20 years later, Nick would be the same charismatic leader, only more so. Nor could I have guessed that I would be the publisher of a magazine that would have him — then my rival, now my friend — on the cover.

Nick and his colleagues at Capital City Consulting (one of whom, the just-as-smart-now-as-he-was-then Scott Ross, was also involved on campus at the same time) are the winners of the first annual “Golden Rotunda” for Lobbying Firm of the Year.

If this were the Oscars, Iarossi and Co. have won Best Picture. Yet, just like with the Academy Awards, there is a lot of good work to recognize, which reporters Jim Rosica and Kathleen Haughney do on several pages.

This edition also features the unique bond between the two incoming leaders of the Florida House and Senate. Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran has known for quite some time that he would be wielding power from the rostrum, while President-designate Joe Negron only last year wrapped-up a bitter struggle for power in the upper chamber.

But when Negron prevailed over Jack Latvala, one of the first people to congratulate him was Corcoran. Together, both men emphasized that they were friends above all else.

So, in a way, this issue of INFLUENCE is as much about friendship — two college rivals turned friends; two legislative leaders who will guide a state through their relationship — as it is about government and politics.

One of my dear friends, Ron Sachs, is profiled in the “What I’ve Learned” section.

Beyond this, this issue of INFLUENCE (delayed because the Legislature moved up its annual session from March to January) includes our annual list of Winners and Losers emerging from the 2016 session. It includes an expanded “Briefings from the Rotunda” section and two exclusive infographics from designer Fred Piccolo.

The story I am most proud of, however, does not have to do with the glitz and Gucci-loafer glamour associated with Adams Street. Instead, in our feature “Angels of Adams Street,” we highlight the good work of the lobbyists advocating for causes often viewed as long-shots.

For our summer issue, we’re going where close to 70 million other Americans visit each year — Orlando. We’ll look at who are the power players at the center of the booming Central Florida region.

Something tells me a trip to the Magic Kingdom may be in order.

Click here to order a copy of the print edition of INFLUENCE Magazine.

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.