In the Departure Lounge: Milissa Holland, Sam Verghese, Jeff Littlejohn

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Summertime often sees a flurry of personnel moves in the world of government and politics. Continuing this occasional series, we update you on who’s in the Departure Lounge.

First up is Milissa Holland, who is no longer with Southern Strategy Group. The former Flagler County Commissioner and state House candidate turned lobbyist joined the firm in 2013. Might she be interested in running again for the state House if, indeed, Rep. Travis Hutson runs for the state Senate seat that would open up if Senator John Thrasher becomes the new president at Florida State University?

School choice advocates Glen Gilzean and Doug Tuthill have withdrawn as lobbyists for Step Up For Students, although both are still working at the organization. If you remember, Gilzean was the Florida A&M trustee who had to withdraw his nomination to the university’s board because of his lobbying efforts for Step Up For Students. State law prohibits university trustees from working as registered lobbyists.

Ron Watson has withdrawn as a lobbyist for the Florida Dental Association. Watson had lobbied for the FDA since 2003, but hung out his own shingle earlier this year. Watson continued to lobby for the dentists after he formed Watson Strategies and may do so again in the future.

As foreshadowed in Matt Dixon’s reporting, Sam Verghese has left his position as Chief of Staff at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to become External Affairs Director in Governor Rick Scott’s office.

After three years of running the regulatory side of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Deputy Secretary Jeff Littlejohn — son of veteran Florida Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Chuck Littlejohn — turned in his resignation Friday afternoon.

One key personnel note from the Legislature: Well-regarded legislative aide James Kotas is no longer with Senator Aaron Bean’s office.

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.