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Question of the day - Golden Horseshoe Awards

Thursday, Dec 22, 2016

* I haven’t had a chance yet to tally up the votes in yesterday’s Golden Horseshoe Award categories, so you can continue voting on that one if you like and I’ll declare the winner later today. Here are today’s categories…

* Best “Do-Gooder” Lobbyist

* Best Contract Lobbyist

As always, please explain your answers or they won’t count. Also, do your very best to nominate in both categories. Thanks!

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wolf - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 9:17 am:

    Do-Gooder: Emily Miller for never being afraid to speak truth to power, and not just behind close doors, but living and breathing the plight of the organizations and countless lives being destroyed by the governor’s intransigence.

    Contract: One last round of applause for McClain — no further explanation necessary.

  2. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 9:21 am:

    Do-gooder - Ireta Gasner of the Ounce of Prevention occupies a tough position, but she goes about her work with grace, dignity, professionalism, and a welcome sense of humor.

    Contract - I cannot improve upon wolf’s nomination of Mike McClain.

  3. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 9:24 am:


  4. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 9:28 am:

    Do gooder- gotta go with Jessica Handy from STAND. Knows her stuff inside and out!

    Contract- McClain forever and always- but he’s the best insider- so will go with the newer generation- Liz Brown- no one works harder and she gets the job done

  5. - wolf - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 9:36 am:

    Anonymous@ 9:28

    Good point, and wholeheartedly concur on Liz.

  6. - Wow - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 9:37 am:

    Jack Darin at the Sierra Club: Exelon doesn’t get their bill without the Sierra Club adding much needed votes the last day.
    Mr McClain always and forever!!

  7. - walker - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 9:39 am:

    Mike McClain for being the epitome of trustworthiness, focus, follow up, pithiness, and care about the humans involved. He always brings value. He never wasted a second of anyone’s time.

  8. - Bipartisan - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 9:41 am:

    If McClain doesn’t get it by acclamation then I suggest Dave Sullivan. In the Spring and Fall there was only one veto override each and he was key to both. He knows how to get things done in a friendly but effective way. And he was representing our Chicago police on both overrides. No easy task right now with that client. And he does it all with that Irish smile.

  9. - Schmitty - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 9:43 am:

    Do-Gooder: In a year where legislative movement has been slow, Matt Paprocki, and Illinois Policy Institute have quietly moved a significant amount of criminal justice reform bills.

    Contract: After a great session, and a lifetime of influential work, it is impossible not to vote for Mike McClain. Truly a legend.

  10. - Biker - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 9:44 am:

    In the public interest, Jennifer Walling certainly deserves credit this year for landing the Energy Bill in a way that helped set the table for future solar gains in Illinois.

    As far as a contract lobbyist, don’t know who deserves the most credit, but getting the decriminalization bill through was a huge win for Illinois.

  11. - View from the Cheap Seats - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 9:44 am:

    McClain. Mic drop.

  12. - LNR - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 9:46 am:

    Do-Gooder lobbyist: Jack Darin, Sierra Club - Lost in all the “Exelon bailout” talk regarding the energy bill is the fact that the environmentalist got just about everything they wanted. Jack held the greens together when the idealists among them wanted nothing to do with cutting a deal to benefit nukes. In the end, Jack and his fellow pragmatists helped deliver one of the most environmentally friendly laws in state history.

    Contract lobbyist: McClain is a no-brainer who deserves the award every year, not just as a retirement tribute. For a honorable mention, allow me to nominate an up-and-comer, Jake Butcher. Knows when to be a hard a** and when to be a soft touch — and does both well. And he excels at the old-fashion art of working a roll call. Watch him sit down and pick through the Senate roster on the eve of a close vote. He figures out an angle to play or a favor to call on every “on-the-fence” member.

  13. - SAP - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 9:46 am:

    Do Gooder:I nominate Emily Miller for the award and to have the category named after her. She has been a constant voice for voiceless, marginalized citizens who have been hammered hardest by budget gridlock over the past 2 years.

    Contract Lobster: Mike McLain if for nothing else than lifetime achievement.

  14. - 100 miles west - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 9:53 am:

    Do Gooder, Josh Evans at IARF. He gets up everyday to fight for ID/DD and behavioral health groups. He is not afraid to speak bluntly to lawmakers and the administration. We are lucky to have him in our corner. It isn’t easy doing this work in our current environment, but his heart is in it. He could make a ton of dough working the rail for the big money players, but he sticks with the non-profits.

  15. - Maverick - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 9:57 am:

    Contract- Can I nominate all 300 contract lobbyists that worked on the Exelon bill? Just kidding. I nominate Courtney Nottage. Courtney is hard working, a wealth of knowledge, and one of the nicest guys to deal with that the Capitol. Fletcher, O’Brien, Kasper & Nottage is one of the ‘go-to’ contractual lobbying firms in Illinois, and Nottage is a huge part of that success.

    Do gooder- I will second the Matt P. nomination. Honestly, I did not know who the Illinois Policy Institute was a few years ago, now they are everywhere, in no small part due to his lobbying effort. Also, the criminal justice reform work has been impressive.

  16. - CCP Hostage - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 9:58 am:

    Do Gooder: Andrew Kretschmar for getting a couple of good things done for people and caregivers of people who have Alzheimer’s this year, all before he’s really old enough to shave. Looking forward to seeing what else he can do.

    Contract: Dave Stricklin, an all around nice guy, respectful to all.

  17. - Anonymouth - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:05 am:

    Do-Gooder - Emily Miller is such a strong advocate for her cause that she has become synonymous with it. She deserves the award.

    Contract lobbyist - Kristen Bauer previously won a Golden Horseshoe for best campaign staffer, and she has translated the skills that made her so successful on staff into her lobbying. She is organized, extremely hard working and has built strong relationships with members on both sides of the aisle in both chambers. She is one of the best!

  18. - realkewlio - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:05 am:

    Do-Gooder: Emily Miller, without a doubt. A woman who is more brazen than anyone else in her conviction for those the system has failed.

    Contract: Mike McClain. It has been an absolute pleasure to know and spend time around Mike over the past couple of years. A one of a kind man, someone you always want in your corner. It’ll be tough not seeing him at the usual spots this sessions, always with a smile on his face, no matter what else was going on at the time. I hope he enjoys retirement, but I sure do miss him already.

  19. - Carhartt Union Negotiating Team - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:16 am:

    Best Contract Lobbyist: With McClain riding off into the sunset, the question of who are all the people that will fill those shoes… there’s not one, the shoes are far too big. But, the standout has got to be Liz Brown Reeves.

    Let’s face it, LBR is among the most aggressive advocates under the dome. She works a roll call like no one else and she has incredible energy. She can open virtually any door at the Capitol and operates well without being one of the “anointed” former staffers.

    As a businesswoman, she’s among the most savvy…leaving the House some years ago, investing her time and interest in the Senate and the GOP, knowing that resting her hat in one caucus is a risky approach.

    Liz has forged relationships with labor and business alike and often does a lot of pro-bono work for not-for-profits. If there’s anyone to credit for getting the rank-and-file on board of the recent energy bill, it’s her.

    And while she’s not “new,” she’s young and will likely have a legacy of forging the path for a new generation of hired guns.

    Best Do-Gooder: I’d understand the debate on “do-hooded” status, but probably the most unsung hero of labor is the AFL’s Jason Keller.

    He’s quiet, but absolutely on top of everything. Imagine the skill and tact it takes to corral the labor community. Jason has made sure that the large union lobsters and the small local presidents know what’s going on, what’s impacting them and what the plan is.

    Hes not flashy, not arrogant, and not a “know-it-all.” He just works his tail off. And if somebody from labor needs something, he just does it… and does it quickly.

    The most underrated, overlooked job for large coalitions is that of a “conductor.” If the trains late because one of the passengers was finishing their steak and martini, the conductor takes the abuse. But when the train is on tim with 99% consistency, everyone’s willing to praise the bosses of the railway.

    Jason is an unmatched conductor…and a porter. There’s something to be said for that.

  20. - Silver Panther - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 10:29 am:

    I cringe at the idea that IPI is a ‘do-gooder’ organization on most issues, but Matt Paprocki is a great advocate for their cause. He has direct influence with the Governor, the Republican caucus, and has works closely with Kelly Cassidy and other Democrats. Few lobbyists can balance working closely with the business groups and the social justice groups. When I saw that IPI partnering with ACLU, I was floored.

    Mike McClain is the best contractual lobbyist in the State. He will be missed and is irreplaceable.

  21. - statehouse santa - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:05 am:

    Contract: Carhartt makes a compelling case for Liz Brown Reeves. Carhartt’s case is compelling because its also true. Nobody works harder or smarter around in the Cap - whether its jobs, education, energy, or public safety (she was a key player in the recent police reform and body camera bill) she takes the prize and she should take the horseshoe.

    Do-Gooder: Colleen Daley works tirelessly to combat the violence that is destroying many areas of our state especially in the city of Chicago. She has been a solid common sense advocate for reasonable gun safety proposals. She’s up against some of the best, most powerful, and most moneyed pro-gun advocates in the country. And while the debates and issues are often highly emotional and heated she has always remained professional and even friendly to the opposition.

  22. - WheatonWillie - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:11 am:

    Do-Gooder - Matt Paprocki. In all my years dealing with folks in Springfield, he stands out as one of the most genuine individuals. He’s always doing his best to fight for “what’s right.” Not to mention, h e’s worked extremely hard to move IPI from the rabble-rouser to a legitimate player.

    Contract Lobbyist - Have to go with McClain. It’s a cherry on the top of a long, storied career.

  23. - My two cents... - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:20 am:

    I agree that with Mr. McClain enjoying retirement, there will be a huge hole to fill in the contract lobbyist world. While there are many people that qualify from the “anointed list,” the folks that have had to fight for clients will likely be best prepared to fill that void in the long run. Liz Brown Reeves has certainly demonstrated a bulldog’s tenacity- both to build a client list and for working for those clients. She’s that great teammate that other teams hate- the AJ Pierzinski under the dome. She’s aggressive and works for her clients- period.

    As for “do-gooder” I would go with Jack Darin. His work on the Exelon bill should not go unnoticed. Quiet and effective for the Sierra Club.

  24. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:33 am:

    I second the vote for Ireta Gasner. The Ounce has retained a tremendous amount of credibility in the GA because of Ireta’s expertise, approachability and savvy.

  25. - Hannibal Hamlin - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 11:59 am:

    Contract: No explanation needed for a Mike McLain nod. He certainly ran through the finish line, so this is no symbolic gesture.

    Do-gooder: Paprocki for reasons already posted, but for mostly legitimizing the lobby shop at IPI. How many have had Cassidy, Evans, Franks along with GOPers Morrison, Breen and McSweeney praising your work from the house floor?

  26. - Chicago - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:05 pm:

    Best contract lobbyist vote goes to Dave Sullivan. He is tireless and enthusiastically represents his clients. Look at his efforts for the Chicago Police as well as Local 150. Without question, two of the more difficult groups to represent and yet he does it and gets wins for them…a pension bill for police and fire passed with strong bipartisan support in this climate!…a Constitutional Amendment for Local 150 passed which is a rarity. Either of those wins would merit the award…getting both done in the same year! Impressive. I know he has other clients too but those two stand out.

  27. - Thanks - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:11 pm:

    We are not one of his high profile clients but I vote for Dave Sullivan. He always has a ton going on but never fails to deliver for us. I know his other clients are happy with him too. We are very well represented by his efforts. And he throws a great party!

  28. - Lobbyist - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:24 pm:

    Do-gooder: Matthew Paprocki, Illinois Policy. Taxpayers owe this guy a lot for standing up for them day in and day out. Unlike a lot of lobbyists out there, he doesn’t have a huge built-in statehouse coalition to push things over the finish line. It’s often him and no one else. And he’s got a great record with non-traditional coalitions. Felons with a record (or anyone else coming out of the justice system) can thank him for getting a number of criminal justice reforms signed into law. Treats people with respect while getting things done in a big way. Trustworthy, genuine, principled.

    Contract: The Nardullis are tough ladies!

  29. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:40 pm:

    I nominate Dave Lowitski for both categories. Technically he is now a contract lobbyist, but he’s been do holder since I started as a do-gooder in Springfield 6 years ago. Dave tends to be who many do-gooders go to when we want advice with strategy, when we need someone to talk to the hard vote, when we want to know who the best staffer to reach out to is and how to contact them. He has great D and R senate and house relationships and has been involved in almost all progressive bills that have moved in Springfield. He doesn’t have a huge ego and is a good guy.

  30. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:42 pm:

    I meant to say Dave has been a “do-gooder” not “do-holder”

  31. - Hello - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:43 pm:

    I hope two of my favorites win again this year…Emily Miller & Dave Sullivan. Emily is the best. I love her willingness to engage the tough discussions. She is admirable. Dave Sullivan is engaging and effective. Both are fantastic!

  32. - Darwin - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:43 pm:

    Do-Gooder - I LOVE Emily Miller. But being a do-gooder has to include a lot more “do.” That’s why Matt Paprocki gets my vote. He worked across the aisle to “do” criminal justice reform. If Emily Miller reached across the aisle to work with the Repuicans to accomplish something they both can agree on then she competes with Paprocki here. But as it is Paprocki is putting the “do” in “do-gooder.”

    Contract lobbyist - Mike Kasper. He dealt with significant personal loss this year and still carried a significant book of contracts and expanded his extensive influence in the statehouse.

  33. - AOL dial-up - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:49 pm:

    “Do Gooder lobbyist”- Matt Paprocki from Illinois Policy. Four years ago, I could not tell you if IPI existed. Now, Everyone under the dome knows who IPI is. Regardless of my personal opinion of the group, Paprocki is doing right by his cause and has emerged as a relevant player in the Capitol. From their obvious influence with the Governors office, his work with the Republicans and now their expansion to working with the left on criminal justice reform.

    “Contractual lobbyist”- Mike McClain is a great lobbyist and a better man. If McClain is on a bill, he makes sure no stone is unturned. If you ever need anything, McClain would drop everything to help you out. A hat tip to a great man on a great career.

  34. - jojo - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:54 pm:

    I echo the kudos for Dave Lowitzki - both as a do gooder and a contract lobbyist. Always helpful, resourceful, GREAT relationships on both sides of the aisle. He is truly a go to guy for many of us when we need counsel.

  35. - ROLLO TOMASI - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:56 pm:

    Representing the Chicago FOP on several pension issues Dave Sullivan was able to move two bills vetoed by the Governor. The last bill he got 19 republicans to cross over in the veto session and do the right thing.
    And Dave always retains the title of being a gentleman.

  36. - Advocacy Andy - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 12:57 pm:

    Do-Gooder Lobbyist: I just don’t know how you can not nominate Emily Miller. She’s dedicated to one thing and one thing only - doing what’s right for those without a voice. Though we don’t have a budget, she effectively went toe-to-toe with the Governor’s office and won every media contest. She called the gov out every time the office issued some bogus proclamation (after they proposed gutting funding for the very program the gov touted, of course) and was the engine behind the RBC. Class-act and in it for all the right reasons.

    Contract Lobbyist: He’s filled a big space in Springfield working with and guiding organizations/coalitions to accomplish great things. SEIU is extremely lucky to have him. I cringe thinking about where SEIU would be without him. I’m glad he works for the do-gooders when it comes to wages and long-term care issues. I’d hate to be across the table from him. A wealth of knowledge, passion, and patience. No-brainer: Dave Lowitzki for contract lobbyist.

  37. - J. T. W. - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:15 pm:

    Do-Gooder: Emily Miller hands down. She has been the spine that the Governor and General Assembly lack and is arguably one of the most competent and brightest people in Springfield. She’s doesn’t wilt in the face of powerful interests and I’ve never seen her compromise her principles for anything. She is the voice for the voiceless.

    Contract Lobbyist: Dave Sullivan. Dave has always been a straight shooter and the definition of professional. He is a hard worker and great at working with the many personalities of Springfield.

  38. - Annonin' - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:25 pm:

    Contract lobo should go to Liz Brown — hands down. She glides thru the House and Senate and can even get some BigBrainers to listen — an unparallel accomplishment
    BTW did you scurb the names because too many Madigan types had the BigBrainers twitch?

  39. - Annonin' - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:27 pm:

    BTW the mere idea that someone from the Rauner funded, dark money lobby group that is setting new lows with the fake news could be a do gooder is a real rib tickler.
    It would be like givin’ Ruaner consultant Stu Levine ad health care horseshow

  40. - DuPageDaVinci - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:37 pm:

    Do gooder lobster- Jason Keller, AFL-CIO. He’s always around working the rail and never misses a bill.

    Contract lobster- My buddy, Liz Brown worked her tail off on the Exelon bill and that’s just for one of her clients. She’s built an impressive list. She’s part of a very small group of effective contract lobbyists, that do not bank all their relationships in one chamber.

  41. - Around the Rail - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:40 pm:

    Best Do-Gooder:
    I’ve got to concur on Josh Evans’ nominations. This guy is pure class and very thorough. I’ve never watched somebody move so quickly from “up and comer” to “go-to expert” status. But, there’s a reason for it. He deserves an honorable mention if not the horseshoe.

    Best Contract Lobbyist:
    Simple choice – Liz Brown Reeves. I’ve already read a lot of Liz’s recommendations that I can’t best. But she’s a smart and everywhere. If you look at her clients and subcontractors, you’ll see she’s offering more than just typical roll call services. Working with funny-man Toby Trimmer seems to be a move to establish a communications advantage as she builds on her list of accomplishments.

  42. - Budget Gal - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:42 pm:

    BEST CONTRACT LOBBYIST: I’ve got to throw my nomination in for Liz Brown Reeves too.

    For many years I’ve watched lobbyists who pretended (poorly) that they understood an issue. Liz is the first I remember in a long time who called me (a non-legislative bureaucrat) to ask for my expertise and the details of an important administrative issue.

    She didn’t ask for favorable treatment or inside info, just for the willingness for me to talk her through the minutiae of an important issue. Liz works extremely hard for her clients and has a great future!

    Best Do Gooder: Josh Evans at IARF. He is probably one of the most down-to-earth representatives in Springfield. He knows his subject matter and seems to have flies on the wall because he knows what’s afoot before most lawmakers.

  43. - SandboxDweller - Thursday, Dec 22, 16 @ 1:45 pm:

    Dogooder: Dave Lowitzki - he could easily fit under contract as well, as he’s quickly becoming the new go-to contract lobbyist for progressive and human services organizations. But he’s smart and strategic and has strong relationships on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers. He’s quietly but effectively played significant roles in many of the big progressive issues.

    Contract: Dave Sullivan. Between his FOP and L150 work, he’s proven to be the go to guy for big bipartisan accomplishments. He’s also a genuinely good guy and someone I love working with or just asking for advice.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* Samsung Galaxy Watch with LTE for T-Mobile goes on pre-order
* Verizon throttled California fire department during wildfire crisis

* Renteria out of hospital, set for more tests
* Hamstring strain sends Leury Garcia back to DL
* Kopechsetic
* Kopech set to make MLB debut tonight
* How I learned to stop worrying and love promotions
* White Sox Minor League Update: August 20, 2018
* Davidson, bats awaken in Giolito's strong start

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