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Southern Strategy Group adds another appropriations chairman — this time in Georgia

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Last year, Southern Strategy Group picked up former Florida House Appropriations Chairman Seth McKeel, and he has been busily building a powerful lobbying presence in the lucrative Tampa Bay market. SSG’s Georgia office apparently took note, because this week its Atlanta-based office announced it is hiring longtime Georgia lawmaker and former House Appropriations Chairman Ben Harbin. After serving 21 years, Harbin is stepping down from his seat in the Georgia Legislature to take a job with the South’s largest network of lobbying offices.

Georgia has a revolving-door ban for legislators who become lobbyists, but unlike Florida’s two-year time out, Harbin is subject to only a one-year cooling off period in Georgia.  However, as we’ve seen from the lobbying careers of former legislators like McKeel, Dean Cannon, and Mike Haridopolos, even while operating under the ban, legislators can provide valuable strategic advice to clients struggling to find solutions at the state level.

Paul Bradshaw, the founder of Southern Strategy Group, said, “Ben is the perfect complement to our Georgia team.  With his decades of experience inside government and the energy and enthusiasm of our Atlanta team already in place,  I would expect them to offer an unbeatable combination to the Georgia market.”

Harbin joins in SSG’s Atlanta office Callie Michael, a former legislative staffer in Atlanta and in Congress, and David Pratt, a former Georgia legislative staffer.

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.

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