In the Departure Lounge: Michael Bender, Chris Cate, Matt Lettelier

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Summertime continues to see 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.

As this blog was first to note, Chris Cate has left the Secretary of State’s office to be Communications Director for CFO Jeff Atwater. 

Bloomberg News’ Michael Bender is remaining with the media company, but is changing dateline from Tallahassee to Washington, D.C., where he will be an enterprise reporter. Toluse Olorunnipa is leaving the Miami Herald to fill Bender’s slot with BN.

The Florida Department of Health announced Thursday (although this blog broke the news on Wednesday)  the retirement of Dr. Dennis V. Cookro, the interim Deputy Secretary of Health. Cookro had been with the department since 1984 and was deputy for Children Medical Services and had also worked at seven of Florida’s county health departments. 

Tampa Bay political operative Matt Lettelier, a veteran of campaigns for Jeff Brandes and John Legg, is moving to Austin to go to work for John Weaver, a political consultant best known for his work on the John McCain presidential campaigns of 2000 and 2008.

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.