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Today’s Golden Horseshoe Awards

Friday, Dec 20, 2013

* The 2013 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Legislative Liaison is a tie. Randy Wells

Keeping in mind he is not just the liaison but Deputy Chief of Staff with all of those responsibilities as well speaks a lot about his load. He is always on his way somewhere, meeting with someone, putting out a fire, or getting ready to take one on the chin for his agency. He is not just a political hack, but comes from a social service background and lives and breathes the issues DHS deals with everyday. He works well with legislators, staffs, and everyone else around the rail and had contributed to all of the biggest bills this year in some way, shape or form. Concealed carry, check; medical cannabis, check; pension reform, check; same sex marriage, check; still dealing with medicaid reforms from last year, check; state facility closures, triple check; budget cuts… you get the idea.

* Shannon Miller

Miller has an arsenal of impressive qualities. First, she is never afraid to take on new and challenging tasks. Second, she has built a platoon of support from both Chicago and Downstate Members. Last, she puts on a good face no matter how late or hard the day is.

Shannon has Members’ questions answered quickly and accurately. She networks tirelessly. She handles work, family and an old Bitter cat like a pro – she doesn’t let the two affect each other.

Northern Members like her. Southern Members understand her. Legislative staffers admire her.

Shannon is a social friend, but we’re not related. Just FYI. She’s been a commenter favorite for the past few years, so I’m not gonna penalize her this year because she’s a friend. She’s earned it. And I hope I didn’t just kill her career track by pointing this out.

* Most of the nominations for the 2013 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Do-Gooder Lobbyist were quite strong. Picking a winner wasn’t easy. They all work very hard and most don’t make much money. In the end, I think that the best nominations were for Khadine Bennett from the ACLU…

The sex ed reform bill languished for years without success. Khadine through sheer determination, the quiet force of her personality and persistence developed and protected the momentum that led to the measure being signed into law by the Governor. She also worked round-the-clock on marriage, literally talking to the toughest votes up until the 11th hour in a polite, respectful — yet unrelenting — tone. She is a force of nature.

* The runner-up only received one nomination, but he worked tireless to pass an historic piece of legislation, and he’s top-notch in my book, so I called an audible…

Do -gooder- my vote is for Mike Pollak. He is nice and very easy to work with. For years, he has tried to pass medical marijuana and his efforts finally paid off. From medical marijuana to marriage equality, Mike was constantly working his roll calls this year.

* Before we move on to today’s nominations, the outgoing Third House Speaker asked that I tell you something…

Rich;

For virtually the entire year the lobbying community gets blasted for being who we are and doing what we do. Generally, we do it well.

Every once in a while, we get to do the right thing. For the last several years, the 3rd House has made charitable donations following our Annual Luncheon. This year is no different. We were able to make donations to the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund and to the Central Illinois Food Bank.

If you don’t mind, remind your readers that we really do have hearts.

Mark Strawn
Speaker of the Third House
2013

* From Politico

Lobbyists came in dead last in a poll out Monday of professions Americans consider honest and ethical, and the reaction on K Street was not particularly surprised.

“Lobbyists fall into the same place that Spiderman and great white sharks do: We’re misunderstood,” said Richard Gold, practice group leader at Holland & Knight. “People don’t really understand what the job is, they just kind of know the cartoon worst version and make judgments based on that.”

Gold said that if you asked people the same question without the term “lobbyist,” but rather asked for impressions of people who advocate causes to the government, he believes Americans would be much more favorable.

“Lobbying does not only include corporate lobbyists, but also NGOs and folks fighting for a lot of good things out there,” Gold said. “The irony is our democracy doesn’t function without this.”

The poll referenced in the story is here.

They do indeed get a bad rap, and it’s not deserved for the most part, as those awards today clearly show.

* OK, let’s move on to today’s nominations

* Best Contract Lobbyist

* Best In-House Lobbyist

As always, make sure to explain your nominations. Quickie posts will likely be ignored. Also, please try your best to nominate in both categories. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

38 Comments
  1. - walkinfool - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 9:27 am:

    Since I cannot keep these categories clear in my mind, I’ll throw out another one.

    Best Out-House Lobbyist: Ty Fahner.

    Say what you will about some misplaced remarks, his arguments, perseverance, and willingness to deal, overcame substantial obstacles and led to key elements in the final pension bill. He defended the outcome against both opponents and some of his own biggest donors and members, as the best that could be achieved. For someone not in the system, he had the most substantial impact.


  2. - Obama's Puppy - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 9:33 am:

    Contract: John Nicolay
    In House: Keith Sias


  3. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 9:39 am:

    Explain your votes, people. And try to nominate in both categories. Thanks.


  4. - walkinfool - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 9:39 am:

    John: Take a breath, and enjoy the holidays.


  5. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 9:40 am:

    John’s comment has been deleted.

    John, either stick to the rules here or don’t bother coming back. Next time you’re gonna be banned.


  6. - Sine Die - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 9:52 am:

    Contract lobbyist:
    Dick Lockhart-look he wil be 90 next year and is still going strong. ‘Nuff said!

    In-House;
    Rob Karr-
    The ultimate pro and extremely well-respected under the dome. Admired by allies and opponents alike. Lots of the 3rd House members could learn ways to improve their skills from Rob.


  7. - Springfield - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 10:01 am:

    The obvious choice for best contract lobbyist to me is Dave Sullivan. His work for the last few years for Marriage Equality plus the great year Local 150 had. He does a great job and always has a smile. Qualified & likable…not a bad combination!
    Rob Karr is a great choice for In House…very effective!


  8. - CircularFiringSquad - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 10:02 am:

    Contract: Liz Brown. Works BOTH chambers, get results, does good roll calls and handles both the money types and NFPs Very rare in this day and age

    In House Lets give it to the outbound dinosaurs like Vite and Olson transitioned from the gold old days to today hell hole of silly regulations and “think tank” advocacy ( I.e. hate speech screamers)


  9. - 47th Ward - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 10:04 am:

    Todd Vandermyde had a very good year on behalf of the NRA. He got 95% of what he said he’d get in the concealed carry law. He worked well with some new faces like Sen. Raoul and didn’t let his more passionate supporters derail a well negotiated compromise. As someone who was working on the other side of the CC issue, I tip my cap to Todd. He deserves to win this award.

    As for contract lobbyist, i’ll second Nicolay, who always seems to find new clients, or at least, they find him.


  10. - Tom - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 10:21 am:

    Contract lobbyist has to go to Mona Martin. No one knows more about their subject then her. She has great relations with members and even better with staff. She understands her topic area so well members have a hard time disputing her facts.

    In house had to go to Rob Karr. This guy tracks and lobbies hundreds of bills a session. Every member knows him. He is honest, direct and works harder and longer then just about anyone in the building.


  11. - anon - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 10:58 am:

    Best Contract: Mike Cassidy. See: CME.

    Best in-house: Dave Vite. Everyone knows why. This award should be named after him.


  12. - Tired - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 10:59 am:

    In-House would agree with Rob Karr always pleasant! Quietly gets the job done!

    Contract- this year Dave Sullivan had a great year! Working the votes quietly for Marriage Equality never shows his hand just keep adding votes till the time is right. Always respectful to everyone he comes in contact with.


  13. - Cletus Purcel - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 11:14 am:

    Contractual lobbyists don’t work for causes or certain issues. However, Zale Glauberman took passing medical marijuana personal.

    Zale mounted a two year full-court press on reluctant GOP members. He had the wherewithal to convince on-the-fencers to push green. Passage for Glauberman was not a win for him, but for his late wife.

    Zale Glauberman is nominated for 2013 Contract Golden Horseshoe.

    Todd Vandermyde not only wears mink well, he also goads Senate Democrats into supporting conceal carry. Vandermyde had a court ruling to pass conceal carry, but he still had to fight President Cullerton tooth and nail.

    Negotiations were tough. Todd didn’t get everything he wanted. However, he deserves a Golden Horseshoe for accomplishing the inevitable through hard work and determination.

    Todd Vandermyde is nominated for the 2013 In-House Golden Horseshoe.


  14. - 4 percent - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 12:02 pm:

    In a very difficult year, Nick Yelverton again showed dignity and class. He is very protective of his interests but enjoys good relationships even with those on the other side. He’s well deserved of this award.

    Contractual goes to Mike Thomson. Quiet, unassuming but gets the job done for a stable of blue chip clients.


  15. - Sand Dunes - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 12:13 pm:

    Contract: Liz Brown. Strong in both chambers. Works every angle. Smart.

    In-House: Sean Stott. Respected by EVERYONE under the Dome.


  16. - Bipartisan - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 12:54 pm:

    I think Vite deserves a lifetime award for In House. In keeping with Dave, I think Sullivan is the best. His hard work for Marriage has been great & watching him work the Local 150 plan was entertaining. Always working hard & a great guy.


  17. - Squround - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 1:03 pm:

    There is no doubt in my mind that in the near future, the prize for Best Contract Lobbyist will be deemed the Dave Sullivan Golden Horseshoe for Best Contract Lobbyist. The man is a veritable encyclopedia of knowledge — both institutional and anecdotal. He has earned the deep respect of Members from both parties and in both chambers in addition to the obvious accolades coming from other lobbyists and insiders from every corner of the State House. It doesn’t hurt that Dave is just genuinely a nice guy. My vote goes to Dave Sullivan wholeheartedly.


  18. - BlueDogDem - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 1:07 pm:

    In House- Gotta go with Sean Stott- Been around the rail for years and works Dems and Republicans.. Delivers for labor time and time again.

    Contract- Liz Brown is a hard worker and spends a lot of time working it with leadership and the rank and file members. She’s in the know in what’s going on in the capitol and is always lobbying the hot issues of the session.


  19. - 1776 - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 1:29 pm:

    John Nicolay deserves the accolades. He’s hard working and often gets the call from big clients in the heat of the moment. John is often overlooked because he performs at such a high level.

    Mark Denzler from the IMA is a great choice. He’s involved in a litany of issues and kept the business community and oil industry together on the fracking bill. I’m not sure that anyone besides Mark could have kept the coalition together. He’s in every major issue from worker comp to tax policy. As a member, he always gets me information before I get it from other sources.


  20. - Cruise - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 1:42 pm:

    Dave Sullivan is truly one of the hardest working lobbyist. Whatever the issue he is lobby for he will work it 100%!! He is no slacker!! Added bonus he is always smiling and very respectful to all staff no matter what side of the aisle.

    In-house how about Alison Burnet always quietly working issues for Medical Society same as Dave very respectful!!


  21. - Route66 - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 2:12 pm:

    Dave Sullivan is a great contract lobbyist, but I think he has won this award before (not sure, Rich?) I am going to go with one to watch for the future- Liz Brown. She has done a great job and deserves to be awarded for her tenacious spirit and know how work product. She has built an impressive book of business for herself.

    In House- Keith Sias does a great job for the Credit Unions.. very level headed and has been a go to person for years for the legislative leaders.


  22. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 2:18 pm:

    Contract is Nicolay, hands down. Excellent work gets the big clients. He always has his hands full, handles it with grace and dignity (ok…grace, dignity depends on the night before), and is one of nicest guys around who will help anyone through anything. Close second goes to Houli, who is as adaptable as a chameleon, can hang ’til 3 and still work a committee by 8.

    In-House. There’s a lot of good names here, and I think some of them have won before, so I’m going to second Denzler. Mark works his tail off and the IMA gets involved in such a wide variety of issues, that he always seems to have his hand in whatever is going on.


  23. - AnonAgain - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 2:28 pm:

    Contract - Mike McClain - who else can talk to the Speaker every night during dinner.

    In-House - Bill Olson - He gets the nod for flying under the radar for the past 30 years while still getting nearly everything the beer distributors want done! He took on Anheuser-Busch twice despite being out gunned by nearly every lobbyist under the Capitol and won both times. That is the sign of a darn good lobbyist!


  24. - Wally2Times - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 2:30 pm:

    In House has got to be Bill Ward. This past year he literally, single-handedly, kept the single most decimated industry in the State relevant at the Statehouse. He beat the Bankers and the State Fire Marshall this past year. And I don’t think Bill even has a staff anymore. It is all him. What he does for the Home Builders is pure and simple brilliant Lobbying.

    Contract Lobbyist must be Neil Flynn. The man just hustles with dignity, grace and kindness.


  25. - Spliff - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 2:31 pm:

    Contract - Dave Sullivan. Nice guy who always has time to say hello and ask about your kids but also knows everything that is going on.

    In-House - Sean Stott. A tireless yet forceful advocate for the labor movement. He will ask you about you bill and tell you why he supports or opposes it before committee …. if he even allows it to get that far.


  26. - LovetheGoldenHorseshoes - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 3:01 pm:

    Contract: I am a bit surprised no one has mentioned Shaw Decremer. Since leaving the Speakers office he has made a name for himself as a top notch lobbyist. He knows how to get things done.

    In House: Sean Stott is a stellar guy and one heck of an advocate for his client. He has a real grasp on how to present information to members and remains calm under pressure.


  27. - Holidays - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 3:05 pm:

    I know he is a great lobbyist but I think Dave Sullivan is the best because he is so nice to us staff and secretaries. And have you ever asked him about his grandees?… His smile lights up the room. So refreshing here.
    Rob Karr is also effective and a great guy


  28. - Rahm'sMiddleFinger - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 3:15 pm:

    I’m going to vote for Dave Sullivan. He’s a great guy, constantly in the know, has a terrific list of clients, and does it all as a former Republican State Senator in a Democratic controlled State. Plus, his years of work on marriage equality should be noted.

    Best In House is Eileen Mitchell from AT&T. She is a master strategist and has put together a very impressive team.


  29. - Holidays - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 3:51 pm:

    *sorry for the typo…grandees was meant to be grand kids!


  30. - Party - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 4:00 pm:

    Another reason to vote for Dave Sullivan…he co-hosts the best party of the year - The Sullivan Caucus! We all need more fun in life. And he’s an excellent lobbyist.
    So, I vote for Julie Sullvan also as best In house. She does great work for the Realtors.


  31. - dave - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 4:07 pm:

    In-house: I nominate Rob Karr. Rob and I are almost always on polar opposites of any issue, but I’ve always found Rob to be friendly, professional, and down-to-earth. He works hard, keeps good relationships with both allies and opponents, and doesn’t come across as dismissive or arrogant towards those on the “other side.”

    Todd Vandermyde would be my runner-up, as he had a heck of a year, even if it did largely come from winning in court rather than the legislature. Again, him and I don’t really agree on a thing, but he’s pretty freakin’ good at his job.

    Contract: I’d go with Shaw Decremer, but I already nominated him for best insider. So I’ll add one more vote for Dave Sullivan, and cannot really add to anything that hasn’t already been said about him here.


  32. - Onefortheroad - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 4:29 pm:

    Sean Stott & Liz Brown- labors best assets. Brown with her southern roots has refreshing honesty and no bs. Stott has done a great Job for years navigating thru the process


  33. - Larry - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 7:02 pm:

    In House would have to be Sean Stott. He has knowledge and the money and manpower to back up what he says. He has made the difference throughout senate races throughout the state (Forby, Manar, Keohler, Holmes) and he has been a tireless advocate for capitol programs. Never butt horns with him.

    Contract I would say Dave Sullivan. Dave is the last of the true gentlemen is the lobbying business. He is a family man, a lobbyist and an all around nice guy to all. He was a good senator but he is a great lobbyist.


  34. - Topspin Lobster - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 7:06 pm:

    Contract: Mike Thomson & Mike Wier are the guys I would hire. They are conscientious, know their clients’ issues inside & out and have relationships with legislators ranging from freshmen to the leaders. They do what others can’t.

    In-house - Rob Karr is tireless, impeccably prepared (and dressed), an honest broker and an all-around great guy.


  35. - Anon - Friday, Dec 20, 13 @ 7:34 pm:

    Contract-I vote for Louie Mossos. He works on and understands a number of difficult, technical and high profile issues. He’s a hard worker and true to his word. Plus he’s a snazzy dresser.
    In-house-Gotta be Sean Stott. Another hard worker who never rests on his laurels and is very respectable.


  36. - Under Influenced - Saturday, Dec 21, 13 @ 11:48 am:

    Contract – Liz Brown: If I had to choose between a cold shower with a wolverine and going toe-to-toe with Liz on…..sorry I already started the water. Not much finesse but she gets it done.

    In House – Sean Stott. The Statehouse could use a few more Stott’s around. True professional and respected by all. Stott’s greatest asset – and an asset currently scarce among his labor peers – is his pragmatic approach to his work. He knows what is possible and what isn’t. Lastly, Sean will never ask his group to do something he isn’t willing to do himself (knockin’ out them doors like a champ).


  37. - Eddy - Sunday, Dec 22, 13 @ 1:35 pm:

    Contract Lobbyist vote for me is Dan Shomon. Dan is a hard worker, both at the Capitol and on campaigns. I’ve walked precincts with Dan in various campaigns, both local and statewide. I’ve worked phone banks with Dan. He’s everywhere at the Capitol. Has a variety of different clients. And he ran President Obama’s campaign for US Senator, and walked precints with me in different states for his POTUS campaigns. Dan is such a great guy, and proud to call him friend.

    I will put in my vote for do-gooder lobbyist for Colleen Daley. She is a very hard worker and had a tough year with a tough issue. She’s also a great campaign advocate and worker. Colleen is genuine, dedicated, and compassionate for her organization and her alma mater. Also very proud to call her my friend as well.


  38. - Bears - Sunday, Dec 22, 13 @ 1:51 pm:

    It’s a great year for the Sullivans so in addition to Ed winning, I too go with Dave & Julie. Dave did great on marriage and others and Julie is consistently excellent for the Realtors.


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