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Capitol Weekly’s Lobbyist Awards

Lobbyists like to talk. Heck, it’s what they get paid to do. Their professional powers of persuasion make them an integral part – for better or for worse – of the business of California politics.

With term limits now accelerating the revolving door between the Capitol and the lobbying world, the balance of power has arguably shifted away from elected officials and towards the hired guns. Many of the state’s 1,100 or so registered lobbyists are the experts on the myriad, complex issues facing the state.

Since lobbyists are paid to have an opinion, it’s not uncommon to find some of them at the Capitol’s local watering holes, or tucked into a Capitol hallway, sharing their thoughts on life, the universe and everything. And as you can imagine, they’ve got their opinions about the 120 members of the Legislature as well. In more candid moments, these opinions are not difficult to extract. Off the record, of course.

This week, Capitol Weekly asked all 120 legislators to turn the tables. We delivered surveys to every Capitol office and put the lobbyists themselves before the voters. We asked lawmakers to give us their picks for the best lobbyists in more than a dozen categories. We’ve printed the top vote-getters from those surveys on the following page.

Voter turn-out for this particular election was vigorous, but not quite Obama-esque. Some lawmakers demurred from filling out our survey, citing a lack of time, interest or knowledge about the entire lobbying core. But most members and chiefs of staff we spoke to were eager to participate.

Many of the winners will be familiar to some close watchers of California politics, but are probably unknown to many of our readers. In fact, in tallying these surveys, we were surprised at how many lobbyists were unknown to us, but received votes in a number of different categories from the people they are paid to influence.

Like all elections, this is not perfect science. But by and large, we think the results reflect a pretty good summary of some of the state’s most effective advocates.

So, without further ado, the envelopes please…

 

BEST LARGE LOBBYING FIRM

Lang, Hansen, O’Malley & Miller Governmental Relations

Capitol Advocacy

 

Honorable Mention: Aaron Read and Associates

 

BEST SMALL LOBBYING FIRM

McHugh and Associates

 

Honorable Mention: Aprea and Micheli, Norwood & Associates

 

HARDEST WORKERS

Alan Edelstein , Edelstein, Gilbert, Robson & Smith

Tim Lynch , Platinum Advisers, LLC

 

MOST TRUST WORTHY

John Norwood , Norwood & Associates

Honorable Mention: Doug Kim, Mike Belote

 

MOST LIKELY TO WORK ACROSS PARTY LINES

Kevin Sloat, Sloat, Higgins, Jensen and Associates

Jay Hansen , State Building and Construction Trades Council of California

 

Honorable Mention: Tim Coyle, California Building Industry Association

 

BEST CONNECTED

Bev Hansen , Lang, Hansen, O’Malley & Miller

Darius Anderson , Platinum Advisers, LLC

 

Honorable Mention: Aaron Read, Kevin Sloat

 

BEST STORYTELLERS

Jim Cassie , Capitol Strategies Group, LLC

Michael Gunning , Personal Insurance Federation of California

 

Honorable Mention: Terry McHale, Mike Flanigan, Paula Treat

 

 

MOST EFFECTIVE LIBERAL CRUSADERS

Lenny Goldberg , Lenny Gldberg & Associates

Willie Pelote, American Federation of State, County and Municial Employees

Barry Broad , Broad & Gusman, LLP

 

MOST EFFECTIVE CONSERVATIVE CRUSADERS

Rex Hime , California Business Properties Association

Kim Stone , Civil Justice Association of California

David Wolfe , Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

 

 

FAVORITE LOBBYISTS TO WORK WITH

Amy Brown, DiMare, Van Vleck & Brown, LLC

Jonathan Ross , KP Public Affairs

 

Honorable Mention: Nick Warner, Michael Gunning

 

MOST UNDERRATED

Randy Pollack , The Law Office of Randy Pollack

Jennifer Wada , Wada Williams Group, LLP

 

BIGGEST POLICY WONK

Chris Micheli , Aprea & Micheli

 

Honorable Mention: Andrew Antwih, Jack Gualco, Steve Rhodes

 

RISING STARS:

Jennifer Wada , Wada Williams Group, LLP

Emily Pappas , Lehman, Levi, Pappas & Sadler

 


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