BY BUDDY NEVINS
In another example of how lobbying and politics are entwined, registered Broward lobbyist Alex Heckler was handed a big political job this week: Treasurer of the Democratic Governors Association.
Heckler was called “one of the nation’s leading Democratic fund raisers in a news release announcing his appointment.
I’ve got absolutely nothing against Heckler, who is 33.
However, the real brains of the lobbying operations at the local Shutts & Bowens office is George Platt, former county commissioner and ex-Broward Democratic Party leader. Platt has always been smart enough to hire some good helper bees, like Heckler.
Platt plays in the local corridors of power, where there is money to be made. Heckler has always fancied himself a national political player.
He backed John Kerry early in 2004. Ooops.
He backed Hillary Clinton early in 2008. Double ooops.
Dabbling in local politics, Heckler is backing the re-election of County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin along with his firm. Triple ooops.
Heckler, whose stepfather in Florida House Democratic Minority Leader Franklin Sands, is a rainmaker for Shutts & Bowen. His role is explained on the firm’s website like this:
“Mr. Heckler’s approach to government relations and his clients’ business development is about much more than simply reacting to procurement opportunities. Instead, Mr. Heckler proactively educates government officials and private companies about new ideas, products and better ways to operate key projects.
I read this as: Heckler figures out ways to pry money out of taxpayers to help his clients.
But that’s the definition of lobbying, isn’t it?
Heckler’s more than two dozen clients, most of which he shares with others at Shutts & Bowen, include:
Bergeron Environmental & Recycling, which won a big disaster debris contract in Broward; Morgan Stanley & Company; Southern Waste Systems, which is trying to break into recycling in a big way; Parades Shops, the international airport stores; Gilly Vending, Clear Channel Airport Advertising and Charcuterie Too, the restaurant in the main county library.
I praise Heckler for taking the new job. It’s like being invited to walk the plank.
I don’t care how much money he raises in his new position. The Democrats are going to lose governors racesincluding unfortunately most likely here in Florida.
It is tough being a Democratic fund raiser any year. This year it’s going to be tougher…especially on Election Night when the returns start coming in.