Michael Cantens is a founding member of Flagler Strategies where he chairs the firm’s government relations and lobbying operation. He represents a wide variety of businesses and organizations before local government, the Florida Legislature and executive agencies in Tallahassee.
Michael began his career, more than ten years ago, as an aide to Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz. He later worked as a legislative aide to the Chairman of the Full Appropriations Council on General Government and Health Care. As a legislative aide, he assisted the Representative in establishing legislative and budget priorities.
Michael also served as the Director of Legislative Affairs for the Florida Department of Health, the second largest state agency. While at the Department, he advised the State Surgeon General, Deputy Secretaries, and Chief of Staff on all legislative matters affecting the Department of Health. He worked closely with the executive branch, legislators, and committee staff to develop and successfully advocate for the Department’s policy agenda and $2.8 billion budget. In instances of public health emergencies, he communicated with elected officials and the governor’s office to relay potential threats and plans of action for the affected community.
Most recently, he worked at a prominent governmental relations firm where he opened, directed, and led the firm’s Miami office and lobbying efforts for multiple clients including hospitals, pharmaceutical corporations, private industries, local governments, and an agricultural company.
Michael was born and raised in Miami where he lives with his wife Diana and two daughters, Emilia and Nora. He is a graduate of Florida State University. He earned his Master of Arts in Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts in History.