FRLA Announces Government Relations Personnel Update


TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) announced personnel changes within its Government Relations Department, including the retirement of long-time Senior Vice President (SVP) of Legal and Legislative Affairs, Richard Turner, who served nearly 20 years with the Association. Also announced were the promotions of Samantha Padgett to Vice President of Government Relations and General Counsel and Nicolette Hoffman to Government Relations Manager. The staffing changes are effective December 31, 2021.

“I could not be prouder of the successes of our Government Relations Department under the leadership of Richard Turner for the past two decades,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “Our efforts to advocate for Florida’s restaurant and lodging industries has directly and positively impacted the health and wealth of this great state while protecting the jobs of millions of our employees. We wish Richard the very best in his well-earned retirement and have full faith in Samantha and Nicolette to continue the great work of this Association as we continue our efforts to defend and grow Florida’s top industry into the future.”

Richard Turner: Throughout his time at FRLA, Turner played a key role in achieving continued success and growth for Florida’s largest industry – hospitality and tourism. He represented the industry before the Florida Legislature and the Florida Cabinet, as well as other state partner and regulatory agencies and at the federal level in Washington, D.C.

Among his many career achievements, Turner was integral to the repeal of the alcoholic beverage surcharge, he worked on the preemption to the State of paid leave, and he was involved in the clarification of the communication services tax.

Prior to joining FRLA, Turner spent nearly two decades with the State of Florida, where he served as Director for the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco at the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR) and as an attorney at the Department of Insurance, the Department of Agriculture, and DBPR.

Samantha Padgett: Ms. Padgett first joined FRLA in 2018 as General Counsel. In her new role, she will oversee FRLA’s Government Relations Department and direct its agenda and initiatives. She will continue to provide legal counsel to the Association and its leadership and serve as an advocate for the restaurant and lodging industries at the local, state, and federal levels.

During her tenure at FRLA, Padgett helped build a coalition of concerned business associations in the effort to oppose Florida’s Ballot Amendment 2 to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she played a critical role in serving FRLA’s membership by reviewing and interpreting many state and local executive orders that significantly impacted business operations and the livelihood of business owners and employees across Florida.

In the 2020 Legislative Session and in response to the impacts of the pandemic, Padgett helped successfully pass COVID-19 liability protections for businesses; achieved the passage of alcohol-to-go which was crucial to the survival of restaurants during closures; and protected Tourist Development Tax revenues from being diverted for purposes other than tourism marketing which is essential to the health of Florida’s economy.

Ms. Padgett is a member of The Florida Bar. She graduated cum laude from the University of Florida College of Law in 2005 and received her B.A. from Emory University in 2001. She has served on the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors, the University of Florida Center for Retailing Executive Advisory Board and the Florida Recycling Partnership Board of Directors. Ms. Padgett previously served as the Vice President and General Counsel of the Florida Retail Federation (FRF).

Nicolette Hoffman: Ms. Hoffman first joined FRLA in the summer of 2021 as Legislative Analyst and Event Coordinator. In her new role, she will coordinate FRLA’s government relations and advocacy efforts, including state and federal issue management, political contributions processing and reporting, event planning and execution, advocacy communications, and legislative publication design.

Prior to joining FRLA, she served as the Events and Marketing Coordinator for the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, part of Florida State University’s College of Business. Hoffman has also held public policy internships at the United States Senate Commerce Committee; The Hawthorn Group, a public affairs firm based in Washington, D.C.; and Associated Industries of Florida (AIF). She graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Public Relations.