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RFB Michael Cantens opens practice Flagler Strategies

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obbyist Michael Cantens tells INFLUENCE he has left the Corcoran & Johnston firm to strike out on his own, under the name Flagler Strategies LLC. He’ll be representing clients at the local level in Miami-Dade County and in Tallahassee. “I am grateful for the support I have received in this new venture,” Cantens says. “I am committed to building a firm from the ground up that can provide services in a personal manner with attention to each client’s individual needs.” He says he’s already been retained by Florida Power & Light and PBA Holdings. His experience in Tallahassee as an aide to the House Appropriations Committee, along with being legislative affairs director for the Department of Health has “given me good insight into the legislative process as well as experience within the executive agencies,” he adds. Cantens started out more than 10 years ago as an aide to Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, and later went on to work for former state Rep. Marcelo Llorente. In 2010, he became a legislative analyst at Health, and was promoted to its director of legislative affairs, serving through 2013. Most recently, Cantens worked at Corcoran & Johnston, where he lobbied for the policy and budget interests of health care, hospitality, and local government clients.

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Kaplan takes over pol site THE ORLANDO POLITICAL OBSERVER, a local political news site, has changed hands — it's now owned by Doug Kaplan, a Winter Park-based pollster and president of the market research firm Gravis Marketing. Kaplan purchased the Orlando Political Observer from founder Frank Torres, according to a story on the site written by Torres himself. Kaplan assured readers in the OPO story about the transition that the site wouldn't be changing much. Kaplan told FloridaPolitics.com that journalism was something he'd always wanted to foray into but never had the chance until Torres offered. “If you asked me a year ago if I'd be doing this, I would've laughed,” he said. He said part of the motivation was a desire to dig beyond the polling he's currently known for and hold elected officials accountable. “Some officials say they're anti-establishment, and then they get elected,” he said. “I want to see if they're keeping their campaign promises. I don't feel like anyone is covering Osceola County, Marion County, Lake County ... and Frank was looking to sell, and it just kind of came to me.” WINTER 2016 INFLUENCE | 55

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INFLUENCE Florida Winter 2016  

The people, professionals and lifestyle of Florida politics

INFLUENCE Florida Winter 2016  

The people, professionals and lifestyle of Florida politics