The Becker Federal lobbying team includes experienced Washington, D.C. insiders who served as Chiefs of Staff to U.S. Congressmen. Omar Franco served as Chief of Staff for Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Clarence Williams served for Congressman Kendrick Meek (D-FL), and Amanda Wood served as Chief Legislative Director to Senator Bob Graham. After years of high level service on Capitol Hill, Omar, Clarence and Amanda enjoy strong relationships with members and staff from both sides of the aisle.
The team has pursued effective federal relations agendas to their successful conclusion, bringing in federal monies for projects of significant regional and national importance. These successes are the result of the close professional working relationships we have developed with key elected officials, congressional leaders, and members on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Furthermore, our years of congressional experience have resulted in long-standing professional relationships with staff members of many committees in the House and the Senate, which we are able to use to the benefit of our clients.
In addition, members of Becker’s local and state government practices have worked closely with House and Senate leaders, many of whom began their career in local and state government. The Federal lobbying team has extensive experience in issues relating to federal appropriations, heath care, higher education, homeland security, defense, taxation, alternative energy, local government issues and international trade.
Appropriations & Legislative Client Accomplishments
- Secured a U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency/FEMA grant award through the State of Florida associated with Hurricane Wilma in the amount of $1,190,691 for the Town of Davie in February 2017.
- Assisted the City of Cape Coral in securing funding through the Paul Coverdell forensic science grant with resulted in the award of $93,796 in competitive USDOJ funds to the Cape Coral Police Department.
- Secured $2,400,000 under the DHS SAFER grant program for fire service staffing in the Town of Davie and $462,673 through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant for the Town of Davie for new self-contained Breathing Apparatus’ (SCBA) and an air compressor cascade system for frontline fire engines and rescue units.
- Successfully gained passage of language creating the Water Infrastructure Financing and Innovation program (WIFIA) to address local government water infrastructure finance issues. This language created a finance mechanism modeled after the successful Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovations Authority and will provide access to lower-cost capital for investments in water infrastructure. WIFIA increased the availability of federal loans for water infrastructure investments over $20 million, which would otherwise not be suitable for assistance through the existing Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs.
- Worked with with FEMA to reach a positive determination on appeals of FEMA’s de‐obligation of disaster recovery expenditures related to the hurricanes from over a decade ago for clients including Collier County, the City of Cape Coral and the Town of Davie.
- Expedited US Fish and Wildlife Service and Army Corps of Engineers permits for multiple Florida coastal communities, advancing both critical habitat protection and economic development
- Interstate Connector, Burnt Store Road, and US 41 Enhancements
- Collier County, Florida – Assisted with securing $2.1 million in federal funding for transportation infrastructure to support improvements to two key interchanges on I-75 at Everglades Boulevard and Collier Boulevard/SR 84. These improvements were critically needed to provide access to a route for safe evacuations from storms and fires as significant growth continues in Collier County.
- ShotSpotter – Guided and advised this public safety innovator and their local government clients in securing over $7,000,000 in federal funding to protect their communities through Gunshot Location System coverage.
- Miccosukee Tribe, FL – Secured $760,000 in FY09 for the Snake Road Improvements to address significant safety concerns associated with Snake Road (BIA), in the Miccosukee Reservation. In the FY10 bill, the Tribe received funding for $1,750,000 for Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41) Safety Improvements project in the Transportation-HUD Appropriations bill. For FY11, $1.1 million for road resurfacing was included in the Omnibus bill that recently failed in Congress.
- North Bay Village, FL – Secured $475,000 in FY09 for a Bus Facility Project within the new Municipal Public Safety Complex. In addition, Omar worked with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office to assist North Bay Village in receiving $4,655,000 from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act for the Force Main project.
- Miami Lakes, FL – Secured $570,000 in FY09 Transportation-HUD bill for vehicle procurement of two hybrid electric vehicles to provide this trolleybus service for the Port.
- Hialeah, FL – Secured $500,000 for street and sidewalk improvements in the FY10 Transportation-HUD Appropriations bill and $250,000 for the police equipment upgrades in the FY10 Commerce.
In addition to our appropriations accomplishments, the entire B&P team is engaged on a daily basis in support of or opposition to various statutory (Congressional) or regulatory (Executive) policy proposals of critical interest to either our clients or the public at large. Many of these efforts have ultimately resulted in significant savings, operational adjustments, or increased protections for both clients and the consumers involved. Examples of work on these include:
- Worked on behalf of Collier County and Gulf County, Florida to gain passage of the RESTORE Act. By investing fines owed by BP and the other parties responsible for the Gulf oil spill into the Gulf region, the RESTORE Act will provide significant resources to Florida’s gulf coast counties;
- House Transportation Committee to secure funding for municipal transportation projects as High Priority Projects and water projects in the reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA);
- Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to secure a 31 percent increase in federal highway funds for the State of Florida in the last transportation authorization bill, SAFETEA-LU. The bill also contained a 146 percent increase for total Florida transit funding and numerous projects throughout Florida;
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on approval of reimbursement for clean-up costs associated with hurricane debris removal; and
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on behalf of several clients and projects.