Janet Mabry made friends, won over rivals

Janet Mabry was a quick study, the kind of lobbyist who could explain complex issues to the public better than the experts. She was the kind of colleague who showed interest, brought others in board, turning collegial relationships into friendships that lasted decades.

She was the kind of friend who could engage in spirited argument, then wash down those differences with a glass or two of wine. The same principles of fairness that fueled her causes also guided her relationships, with a drive and a competitiveness as distinctive as her big laugh. She inspired friends and co-workers with her commitment to a healthy lifestyle, her sage parenting advice; her ability to distill the problem, find the solution and see the humor.

Mabry, who used her innate ability and rapidly acquired skills to shape the messages that turned into policy, died Nov. 2, of cancer. She was 67.

“She was a non-lawyer who could represent some of the most confusing, complicated issues that anybody in the capitol could possibly work on and break them down into very simple concepts that anybody could understand,” said Jeff Porter, a deputy executive director of the Florida Justice Association, who had just started work at

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