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J. Keith Arnold, Ph.D.

J. Keith Arnold, Ph.D.

Senior Principal - Government Relations

Tallahassee, FL

How Keith Helps Clients

As a Senior Principal in Government Relations at Buchanan, Keith Arnold’s focus is on representing healthcare, education, local governments and not-for-profit clients. Because of his extensive background in the Florida legislature and in public finance, Keith helps clients secure funds through both appropriated and debt obligations.

Few are better suited to a government relations practice. A fifth-generation Floridian and lifelong resident of the Ft. Myers area, at the age of 23 Keith was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, becoming the youngest member of the legislature and one of the youngest in the country at that time. During his 16-year tenure in the Florida House, he assumed many leadership positions, including being appointed Majority Leader at the age of 28, the youngest person in state history ever to have served in that role. Keith also held a variety of chairmanships, including Chair of the Tourism and Cultural Affairs Committee, Chair of the Postsecondary Education Committee and Chair of the Appropriations Sub-committee on Education. In the latter role, Keith was responsible for budgeting the state’s entire $14 billion education budget for K-12, Community Colleges and the State University System.

From legislator to government relations advisor, Keith’s experience provides clients with a unique perspective.

One of Keith’s key accomplishments in the Florida legislature was his successful effort to expand the state’s university system. For more than a decade, Keith helped lead the effort to legislatively authorize, build and open Florida Gulf Coast University in his hometown of Ft. Myers. FGCU has been highly successful, exceeding all growth and enrollment projections and attracting students from all over the world. 

During his legislative tenure, Keith was the author and primary sponsor of dozens of initiatives, many of which included bills directed at environmental protection, growth management, education reform and healthcare transformation. He was the primary sponsor of bills creating the Florida Communities Trust and the Florida Cultural Arts Program.

Following Keith’s decision to depart the legislature and turn his attention to business, he has been providing governmental representation to clients, primarily in the Southwest Florida area. Before joining Buchanan in 2013, Keith owned and operated a successful legislative consulting firm for 14 years, representing clients before Florida’s legislative and executive branches.

Outside of the Office

Keith is a frequent speaker on many topics related to government relations, and especially healthcare and education. He has served on numerous boards and is involved in a variety of charitable activities. He currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees for Hodges University, is on the Board for Villa Francisco and is a lector at his church, St. Cecilia Catholic Community. He and his wife, Maureen, have three children.