Roger Austin is a Gainesville, Florida, based political consultant specializing in all areas of state and local campaigns. A fifth generation Floridian raised in Jacksonville, Austin is a serial graduate of the University of Florida, receiving his undergraduate, masters and law degrees there. From 1989 to 1992, he served as the Political Director and Legal Counsel for the Republican Party of Florida. Today, Austin runs his own firm and has consulted candidates all over the state. Between campaign cycles he is completing his Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Florida and is writing his dissertation on the topic of campaign finance reform. He has also been an adjunct lecturer in the Political Campaigning Program at the University of Florida.
Judge Nikki Clark
Judge Nikki Ann Clark has served on the Florida First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee, Florida since January 2009, hearing appellate cases from eight North Florida Circuit Courts, and from government agencies. Prior to her appointment to the District Court of Appeal, Judge Clark served as a circuit judge in the Florida Second Judicial Circuit for 15 years, presiding over various types of cases, including criminal, civil, family law and juvenile delinquency. In 2000, Judge Clark was one of the judges who presided over the litigation involving the Bush v. Gore election dispute. Judge Clark frequently teaches continuing legal and continuing judicial education courses. From 1995 through 2009, Judge Clark was an adjunct professor of law at Florida State University College of Law teaching Trial Practice. Judge Clark has traveled to Liberia and Nigeria, where she joined a team of lawyers from the U. S. Department of Justice to present a series of seminars and workshops to judges, lawyers, and election officials in preparation for resolving election disputes. In 2010, Judge Clark was the recipient of the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Distinguished Service Award.
Neil Skene, a private investor and corporate executive in Tallahassee, has a 35-year career in revitalizing and redirecting companies as well as long experience as a journalist covering courts, government and American politics. He is vice chairman and a principal shareholder of MedAffinity Corporation, a start-up company providing electronic-health-records software and services to health-care practitioners. He has just concluded 2½ years as part-time special counsel to the secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, a once-troubled agency which has become a national leader in child welfare. He is writing a third volume of the history of the Florida Supreme Court, covering the period since 1972 through the early 200s, including the famous 2000 election cases. Neil served for seven years as president of Congressional Quarterly Inc., a nationally respected Washington publisher of books, journals and newsletters that became a pioneer in electronic publishing and integrated newsroom operations. He was a trustee of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies for 14 years, and for 10 years served on the board of directors of the Times Publishing Co. in St. Petersburg. He was a reporter, assistant city editor, and capital bureau chief for the St. Petersburg Times before becoming editor of its sister paper, the Evening Independent, in 1984. After 20 years with Times Publishing and CQ, Neil became senior vice president for editorial and product development for an Internet pioneer in Boston, Individual Inc. After the acquisition of Individual in 1998, he co-founded Classified Intelligence (now part of the Advanced Interactive Media Group) to focus on the shift of classified advertising to the Internet, and he remains a principal of the organization. He was the Schumann Distinguished Professor of Journalism at Mercer University in 2009, and taught political communication in the political science master’s program at Florida State. He also taught professional programs in newsroom management in Lebanon, Eritrea, South Africa and Swaziland. He was a member of the Mercer Law School Board of Visitors 1985-92, including two years as chairman, and in 1990 became the founding chair of the Board of Advisers of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, one of the country’s most prominent journalism programs.