After a distinguished 14-year career in public office, former State Representative Seth McKeel is taking his extensive knowledge of public policy to Southern Strategy Group.
The Lakeland Republican, who served as chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee until term-limited this past year, joins the SSG lobbying house as managing partner of the Tampa Bay office. He will work with current partner Laura Boehmer to advocate for clients before local governments throughout Central Florida.
“I’m honored to have been asked by the partners at Southern Strategy Group to lead the Tampa Bay office and so thankful for their trust in me.” said McKeel. “Kim and I are thrilled to begin to this exciting new chapter in our lives. Being a legislator was an extraordinary experience, but I’m looking forward to new opportunities and challenges in the private sector, to working in Tampa Bay and, most importantly, to being a more present husband and father.”
Among those applauding the addition of McKeel to SSG is Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
“Seth has been a great leader for Tampa Bay,” said Buckhorn. “He’ll be an asset to businesses and organizations throughout our region in his new role and I’m proud to welcome him and Southern Strategy Group to the downtown Tampa business community.”
McKeel began his career as a Florida public servant in 2000 with his election to the Lakeland City Commission at the age of 24. After five years on the Commission, McKeel went to the Florida House in 2006, serving a full eight years until he was term-limited in 2014.
During that time, McKeel rose to prominence as Appropriations Committee chair, playing a key role in maintaining Florida’s crucial AAA Bond Rating, as well as bolstering state reserves to more than $3 billion.
McKeel was also a leading supporter of Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, offering valuable guidance during its creation. At the request of Speaker of the House Dean Cannon, McKeel acted as a mediator for then-state Sen. J.D. Alexander after plans stalled for an independent USF Poly, a branch of the University of South Florida at the time.
With a reputation for teamwork, McKeel was able to reach a deal between Alexander and several influential legislators in the Hillsborough County delegation incensed over Alexander’s rush to create the state’s 12th university.
As the most successful state lobbying firm, Southern Strategy’s lineup consists of several of the brightest political minds in the state, including founder Paul Bradshaw, former Secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration Tom Arnold, former state budget director Jerry McDaniel, and former Attorney General Jim Smith.
“Seth is respected as a leader at the local and state levels, and we are thrilled to have him leading our Tampa Bay team and helping clients in that important region of Florida,” said Bradshaw.