What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, so I answered the questionnaire I wrote for the “30 under 30” crowd. Here is me, in my own words:
I am 37 years-old. I never wanted to reach a number above an NFL running back (32, 33), but now I pray every day to make into defensive lineman territory (Warren Sapp wore 99.)
I live in the ‘burg… Am from the ‘burg with a heart that beats NYC…. I went to school at Florida State University. I hope to visit wherever will make my daughter Ella happy soon enough.
I entered politics because… I won the election for fifth grade student council at Holy Family School. The rest is history.
One principle I always put above politics is… Trust but verify.
Person or people who gave me my first shot: Charlie Crist. I paged for him in the Florida Senate when I was 16. I wish I had learned then the lesson of killing them with kindness, as Charlie does.
I’ve already worked for/on… The best answer to this question is from the Toby Ziegler’s character from The West Wing. It’s in the Shadow of Two Gunmen – Part 2 episode where a woman in a bar asks him, “You’ve been a… um, what do you call it?” To which Toby answers, “Professional political operative.” The woman follows up, “You’ve been one your whole life?” To which Toby responds, “Well, there was a while there I was in elementary school.”
When I begin a project or first work on a campaign, I look for… Who signs the checks. In the end, they’re more important than the candidate. Don’t believe me? Well, let me tell you, Nancy Watkins is gonna be around a lot longer than almost anyone else currently serving in the Florida Legislature.
I’ve been blessed to have these people as my mentors: Dr. Stanley Marshall and Dr. Susan MacManus. At my core, I am a policy guy. Lately, Rick Baker and Senator Jack Latvala have provided a great deal of guidance.
The people I most admire in politics are: The creative types. Jefferson once said, “Design activity and political thought are indivisible.” Leaders able to summon the beauty of governance are the ones who attract me.
One lesson I’ve already learned is… The closer you are to the door, the closer you are to the door. This is a restaurant-business metaphor about getting too far ahead of yourself.
There is also a lesson to be found in the fact Florida law requires political candidates to pay for goods and services upon receipt (meaning there is no credit). There is a historical reason for this. Do not let yourself have to learn the hard way what that reason is.
If I wasn’t working in politics, I’d be working in… the restaurant business, undoubtedly. In fact, there have been times in my career when I was, um, away from politics and I enjoyed a wonderfully simple life behind the bar.
In ten years, you’ll read about me… being proud of Ella’s accomplishments at ten years-old.
You can connect with me via Twitter @SaintPetersBlog.