* 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…
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.
Speaker of the Third House
* 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.