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Steve Schale’s big news

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Next month, Steve Schale is taking his talents to sub-Saharan Africa.

The Democratic strategist will lead a bipartisan delegation of American political professionals to Namibia and Botswana as part of an exchange program sponsored by the American Council of Young Political Leaders.

Schale will escort a cohort of Americans to meet and swap electoral insights with the National Youth Council in Namibia and the Organization for Youth and Elections in Botswana. Both organizations coordinate closely with the U.S. Embassies in Windhoek and Gaborone, which will help facilitate the exchanges.

“When I was in college, I really wanted to grow up and play in the foreign and diplomatic space,” Schale told Florida Politics.

“Life for me took a very different direction, and while I am blessed to have enjoyed a really fascinating career, the desire to better understand the world outside of Florida has never really gone away,” said Schale, who visited Malaysia and the Philippines as part of an ACYPL delegation in 2013 and hosted Pakistani and Indian delegates in Florida last year.

With a nod and wink to the epic social media rollouts of fellow Democratic message-crafter Kevin Cate, Schale had been teasing the announcement on social media.

Given his public association with the movement to draft Joe Biden as a candidate for president, one could be excused for thinking Schale’s announcement — or “BFD,”, as Amtrak Joe might put it — was related to his potential run.

The Tallahassee political hack best known for his key roles in President Obama’s campaigns in Florida and, more recently, U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham‘s upset victory over Steve Southerland last year, said the wanderlust of his youth continues to drive him.

“For a guy who grew up in a small town, and who wakes up every day still as idealistic about changing the world as he was at 18 years old, it is hard to put into words how honored I am for the opportunity to play a small role in telling the great story that is the United States,” said Schale, who was born in Kankakee, Illinois.

Schale said he hopes to start a parallel organization for Florida pols and public policy pros in the future.

“One day, I’d love to help start a similar program here in Florida, just for Florida leaders, that sent delegations to emerging markets to build political and personal relationships outside of the basic trade missions,” said Schale. “When you look at where we are positioned in the world, both geographically and demographically, we really are positioned to be a major player as the economy becomes more global.”

Past Floridian ACYPL delegates have included state Sens. Dwight BullardAnitere Flores and Rene Garcia, as well as state Rep. Jose Felix “Pepi” Diaz, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Schale’s trip is scheduled for late October. No word yet on whether he will stop at Busy Bee en route to Windhoek.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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