Public Policy and Advocacy Panel

Public Policy and Advocacy Panel

On Monday, students in the Public Policy program (such as myself) made the trek over to the Capitol for this semester's Public Policy and Advocacy Panel. Held in a fairly swanky conference room directly beneath the Capitol's rotunda, I found it to be a really interesting and informative session on the ins and outs of professional DC, specifically the world of lobbying, advocacy, and government relations. It's a field that I'm not too familiar with, with most of my personal experience coming from the political campaign side of things, but TWC has opened a lot of windows into the profession and it definitely interests me.

 

 

The panelists were Al Thompson, a principal at Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, Rolf Lundberg, founder of the Lundberg Group, and Daniel Bremer-Wirtig, a TWC alum who works for the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships. They divulged a load of information about their personal histories in the business and supplied a fair share of insights and tips, which were all pretty illuminating. They also covered all the bases, ranging from Republican to Democrat and touching on a variety of issues (education policy, the security of shipping ports in the US, and different kinds of hotel taxation, to name a few). It was a satisfyingly wonky and detail-filled session.

 

Perhaps most interesting (and useful, for us at least) were their personal backstories, which peeled away some of the obfuscation that surrounds the socioeconomic ladder of DC and gave understandable insights into navigating the world of professional advocacy. For example, Rolf Lundberg detailed his journey from college to a law firm, then to the George H.W. Bush Administration in the early 90's and his own lobby shop after that. I'm not a Republican and sometimes the issue of the "revolving door" of Washington leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but it was nonetheless fascinating to hear someone give an account of their career and the maneuvers they exercised within it.

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