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Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards

Tuesday, Dec 19, 2017

* The 2017 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best State Agency Director goes to Mike Hoffman at CMS

CMS can be a behemoth of an agency, with controversial issues lurking around every corner. Hoffman has been able to set a clear direction for each of the unique bureaus and handle the criticism that comes with the daily task of managing the state’s operations (including sensitive topics like personnel, state property, health insurance, labor relations, etc.).

* The 2017 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Congresscritter goes to Cheri Bustos

Another vote for Cheri Bustos, IL- 17th. I’ve discussed two of her regular features, “Cheri on Shift” and “Supermarket Saturdays” here previously - she’s responsive to constituents, she’s knowledgeable about the issue of concern (jobs jobs jobs), and she’s a hard worker - a virtue Central Illinoisans admire and respect.

Plus, she’s been running workshops for constituents who want to run for local office, “Build the Bench.”

She’s acquiring a national reputation and to my mind, it’s well deserved.

* And now let’s move along to today’s categories…

* Best “Do-Gooder” Lobbyist

* Best Contract Lobbyist

As always, make sure to explain your votes and please nominate in both categories. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - A guy - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 1:18 pm:

    I don’t expect you to allow yourself to win, or accept even if you did, but I’d nominate YOU for the continued commitment to Lutheran Child Services. Getting help to people when they need it the most means the most.

    I don’t interact enough with Contract Lobbyists to offer up anyone beyond who I really like. So, I’ll nominate Jay Shattuck. He’s a nice guy and I really like him. He’s good enough to have a lot of loyal clients.

  2. - Jack - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 1:28 pm:

    She’s not a registered lobbyist in the traditional sense, but I’m going to vote for Teresa Ramos from Advance Illinois who managed the Funding IL’s Future grassroots coalition for several years of the school funding fight. She got rural districts and Chicago talking to each other and understanding their shared values. After the veto, she had the authentic base of interested people from across the state to activate. I’ve never seen anyone work harder. Even her non-work hobbies revolved around canvassing for school funding.

    For best contract lobbyist, Liz Brown Reeves who is always connected and informed and generous with information and compassionate with individuals who need some support.

  3. - just Sayin ... - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 1:33 pm:

    I have found Mr Hoffman to try to be helpful in educating and informing us of the issues facing CMS to the extent the front office would allow him. However, these previous limitations imposed by the former Gov’s staff has tarnished him. Unfortunately, his “acting” director status may end with the Executive Appointment clock coming to and end soon. Too bad, because this guy seems to care about state government.

  4. - 2017 - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 1:49 pm:

    I think the automatic voter registration was a huge deal. Working with Abe Scarr and Dave Sullivan on it was great. Abe is the best do gooder lobbyist out there and Dave Sullivan is a star. Abe led a broad coalition while Dave was key to managing the many land mines in the Capitol. They both get my votes for best do gooder & contract lobbyists!

  5. - Illinois - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 1:53 pm:

    My votes have to go to the Equality Illinois team…Mike Ziri for best do gooder and Dave Sullivan for best contract lobbyist. Ziri is fun to work with, always eager to keep moving forward and Dave Sullivan’s professional yet friendly approach to issues is a credit to public policy. They worked with both parties to get several bills passed including a transgender bill signed by the Governor. Their dedication to fairness is terrific.

  6. - Insider - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 2:02 pm:

    Best Do-Gooder. Josh Dwyer from One Chance Illinois. Four pieces of legislation he wrote and lobbied for became law this year. The teacher tax credit, the increase in the education expense credit, the acceleration act, and the tax credit scholarship bill.

  7. - Learn - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 2:17 pm:

    I second the nomination for Josh Dwyer. He is truly dedicated to the cause of education. His work is inspiring. And on his team he had great help from Matt O’Shea and Dave Sullivan. They both worked tirelessly to bring that historic legislation across the finish line. Both are great guys and terrific lobbyists.

  8. - Horst Cabal - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 2:33 pm:

    Fred Smith for the best ‘do gooder’ lobbyist. One of the nicest people you’d ever meet, extremely knowledgable of the legislative system, committed to his client’s goals, and effective in encouraging the system to work for them.

    Eric Madiar for the best ‘contract’ lobbyist. A national expert on pensions, known for his knowledge of the legislative process and its history, well respected on both sides of the aisle, and able to access the key players on any issue in Springfield. Well read, a Renaissance kind of guy, lovely family, and will be Governor one day.

  9. - Too Much to Handle - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 2:40 pm:

    I nominate Kristen Bauer for the best contract lobbyist. If you went to the Capitol during session this year, chances are you saw Kristen working hard for her clients. Her work ethic is unmatched. Also, in an era of specialization, Kristen has the amazing ability to work with members of all caucuses and sub-caucuses. If I needed representation, I know who I would call!

  10. - Too Much to Handle - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 2:45 pm:

    Sorry, forgot best do-gooder lobbyist. Here I would nominate Jen Walling at the Illinois Environmental Council. She knows her issues inside and out and is good at building a coalition.

  11. - The Wash - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 2:56 pm:

    Jen Walling definitely gets my vote. Trying to save the environment is a thankless job, especially in the current political climate. That industry has racked up many wins lately.

    Also have to vote for lobbyist Louie Mossos. He’s the go-to guy for so many legislators and staff. Plus there aren’t many lobbyists that have worked for both the Speaker and Senate President.

  12. - Eastcoast Surfer - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 3:01 pm:

    Marc Ayers for best do-gooder who represents the humane society. Animal people can be a vocal bunch and he’s really gained a lot of attention and credibility for animal causes in IL.
    Best Contract Lobbyist to matt-o’shea. He’s a dedicated person and works hard for all his clients.

  13. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 3:26 pm:

    Contract: Ron Holmes — Ron has become one of the go-to contract lobbyists in the building. He’s smart and works hard. He works a roll call and provides access to high level folks. He can take on a variety of issues and clients and speak knowledgeably, and he also he a great understanding of the politics and how to get things done.

    Dogooder: Dave Lowitzki - while technically a contract lobbyist, he has been able to maintain his dogooder creds by focusing on dogooder clients. He has been in the middle of many of the bigger fights in the capital for years - taking on the nursing homes, minimum wage, medicaid expansion, marriage equality, revenue fights, and more. He just gets things done.

  14. - Janet - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 3:28 pm:

    There are so many good candidates for do-gooder! It’s hard to put just one. I’d probably say Marc ayers with the U.S Humane Society. I think Illinois made history with their elephant legislation and they did something with bobcats that’s now law.
    I’m torn between Dave Sullivan and Eric Madiar for contract lobbyist. Both are extremely knowledgeable and eager to work on behalf of their clients. They are driven and always motivated.

  15. - Janet - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 3:31 pm:

    There are so many good candidates for do-gooder! It’s hard to put just one. I’d probably say Marc ayers with the U.S Humane Society. I think Illinois made history witrrh their elephant legislation and they did something with bobcats that’s now law.
    I’m torn between Dave Sullivan and Eric Madiar for contract lobbyist. Both are extremely knowledgeable and eager to work on behalf of their clients. They are driven and always motivated.

  16. - Guy on the Rail - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 3:35 pm:

    Do-Gooder: Jen Walling is an easy decision. She has to manage a board that includes some zealots, and yet she makes sure the IEC is a player at the table on important legislation. Her work on FEJA turned what could have been simply a pro-utility bill into one of the strongest alternative energy bills in the country. By being reasonable, and willing to negotiate, she turned a situation where environmental groups could have been steamrolled into a win.

    Contract: Jay Curtis is only a few years on the contract side, but he has shown himself to be one of the best in the game. His clients, including Lyft and Amazon, have had a number of issues, and Jay has handled them with professionalism and poise. He’s a great guy too, which almost makes up for the fact that he’s a Cardinals fan.

  17. - FDRDemocrat - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 3:41 pm:

    Best contract lobbyists goes to Eric Madiar.
    He is smart, hard working, knows the Senate process inside and out and is also a good lawyer.

  18. - Anon - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 3:42 pm:

    Do gooder is Bob Myers. His work on behalf of beer is crucial to the mental health of the entire state. For contract, i would have to say Dick Lockhart. He is a WWII veteran and he knew and respected the statehouse and the process.He should be honored by having this category named after him!

  19. - Anony24 - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 4:03 pm:

    DoGooder: Marc Ayers with the HSUS. Seems like the only issues that the state tackled this year was animal welfare so kudos to him for making that happen. I’d second Jay Curtis for Contract Lobbyist. I know he hasn’t been around too long but I hear many speak highly of him and his clients must be happy

  20. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 4:16 pm:

    Do Gooder: Khadine Bennett (ACLU) led the charge on HB 40, transgender birth certificate and civil asset forfeiture bills. She’s always working hard, tries to build bi-partisan support, and works on hard issues that takes coalition building with organizations and sponsors.

    Contract: Dave Lowitski is a Do Gooder turned contract lobbyist. He’s always willing to help the do-gooders (whether or not they pay him) and he gets results. He’s always working. Either in the capitol or after hours. He builds really relationships, and understands the political and the possible. Consistent hard work deserves credit!

  21. - Chris - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 4:57 pm:

    The best Do Gooder is Marc Ayers. He works smart and hard to give a voice to the animals and without his leadership Illinois would still be hosting cruel elephant acts come January 1.

  22. - Dee3Three - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 5:21 pm:

    Best Do Gooder: I’ll nominate two:

    Khadine Bennett with ACLU. Along with her work on HB 40, she’s been a champ on criminal justice reform work. The state is starting to move in the right direction on this stuff (although we are not as far along as some people think) and her shop has been right in the middle of it.

    Also, Beth Johnson with Cabrini Green Legal Aid has been the go-to person on criminal records work. I guess that’s what happens when you practice too. HB 2373 was a great piece of legislation CGLA helped get through and she been a great convener behind the scenes for many of the folks working on crim stuff.

  23. - Hello - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 5:30 pm:

    Dave Sullivan representing tough clients listed above like Equality Illinois & that education group plus the AVR issue are key to why he is the best lobbyist. He takes on tough issues and does so with such a positive attitude it’s impressive. And he does throw one of the best parties every year. I also think Mike Ziri does a great job for Equality Illinois

  24. - Labor - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 5:37 pm:

    Local 150 is very well served by Dave Sullivan & Marc Poulos. They are a great team. They got Rauner to sign a prevailing wage bill this year! Very surprising and impressive in this anti labor climate. That alone should give Sullivan the award…not to mention all those other successes people mentioned above.

  25. - Don't Worry, Be Happy - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 5:50 pm:

    Best Do-Gooder: Jen Walling. She makes sure IEC is at the table, and does a good job representing the diverse opinions within the environmental community. On a good day, getting those folks on the same page is like herding cats.

    Best Contract: Eric Madiar. Since his staff days, Eric has been a smart, consummate professional and a straight shooter, while also getting things done. There are very few people in the Capitol about whom you can put all that in one sentence.

  26. - Lady DuPage - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 5:53 pm:

    Contract lobbyist: I think I’d go with Dave Lowitski. I’ve always thought he was an ethical and honest lobbyist who has a good reputation. I can’t say that for many contract lobbyists…
    Do Gooder Lobbyist I’d recommend Mark Ayers from the Humane Society. he’s helped prevent the spread of puppy mills, helped circus elephants, and the bobcat bill is finally law (thank God!)

  27. - Spaghetti - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 5:56 pm:

    Do-Gooder - Brian McDaniel with CUB. One of the most knowledgeable on the most difficult subject matters of them all - utilities - and the man legit believes in his cause on an impressive level. Equally respectful to all sides, and an all around great guy.

    Contract lobbyist is hands down, no doubt, undisputed, Dick Lockhart. If any commenters want to know what a lobbyist is, look no further. His integrity is unmatched. His record of service - both military and public - is nothing short of legendary. The gentleman literally fired a client in the midst of a committee hearing because the client went back on an agreement previously made on a bill up for consideration. Think about that for a second - a lobbyist firing a client.

    There will never be another lobbyist that served his clients, and more importantly his country (was a prisoner after the Battle of the Bulge) better than Dick Lockhart. He is a legend for every current and aspiring contract lobbyist to look up to. He will be dearly missed.

  28. - Lobby - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 6:18 pm:

    Dick Lockhart, Jim McPike & Mike McClain all deserve lifetime achievement awards. Each impressive in his own right.
    Best do gooder is Khadine Bennett. She is involved in so many issues. For the same reason after reading the nominations here I will go with Dave Sullivan. Khadine & Dave work hard on lots of big issues.

  29. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 6:49 pm:

    Those three retirees are great.
    Liz Brown best of the contract crew.
    Do Gooder…how about the Cardinal? He even got GovJunk on his side.

  30. - Firefly - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 8:12 pm:

    Do Gooder- Jen Walling. Compassionate, smart and and a super advocate for all things environmental. Intensely ethical and knows her issues backwards and forwards.

    Contract- Dave Sullivan. Ethical and always willing to say what the down side is to his position. Avoids putting legislators in a tough position. A man of his word.

  31. - Senator Clay Davis - Tuesday, Dec 19, 17 @ 9:39 pm:

    +1 for Jen Walling (Do Gooder) and Dave Lowitski (Contract)

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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