In the fall of each year, Gallo & Robinson, LLC. holds the annual Connecticut Lobbying Conference to help new lobbyists learn how to be effective advocates for their causes and seasoned veterans update their skills.  

The Conference begins with a moderated panel of legislative leaders in the Connecticut General Assembly.  After the morning panel, you can choose from 12 different workshops that will take place throughout the day. 

If you would like to be added to be added to our mailing list for next years conference please use our contact form here to let us know.

Below is the program for the 39th Annual Connecticut Lobbying Conference that was held in October.  

 

THE 2019 CONNECTICUT LOBBYING CONFERENCE
Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Lyceum
227 Lawrence Street
Hartford, CT 06106

REGISTRATION -- 8:30am

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS -- 9:00am

PANEL: HOW TO BE AN EFFECTIVE LOBBYIST -- 9:15am - 10:25am

  • SEN. LEN FASANO: Senate Republican Leader, Connecticut State Senate
  • REP. JOE ARESIMOWICZ: Speaker, Connecticut House of Representatives 
  • REP. THEMIS KLARIDES: House Republican Leader, Connecticut House of Representatives 
  • SEN. CATHERINE OSTEN: Chair, Appropriations Committee, Connecticut State Senate
  • REP. TONI WALKER: Chair, Appropriations Committee, Connecticut House of Representatives 
  • REP. JOE POLLETTA: Member, Connecticut House of Representatives 
  • REP. QUENTIN PHIPPS: Member, Connecticut House of Representatives 

2019’s ‘long session’ is behind us, and the 2020 ‘short session’ is on the horizon. A historically large freshman class and a new Governor are settling in in Hartford. Despite the new faces, many old challenges and issues persist. What is the best way to move your agenda forward? How do you get a legislator to champion your cause? Featuring leaders from both parties in both chambers, as well as new and up-and-coming lawmakers, this bipartisan panel of legislators will give you honest advice from their varied perspectives.


SKILLS WORKSHOPS

*These workshops are designed for new lobbyists and advocates.

SESSION I -- 10:35am - 11:35am

WORKSHOP A: LEGISLATIVE PROCESS 101*
REP. BOB GODFREY: Deputy Speaker Pro Tempore, Connecticut House of Representatives 
JOE GRABARZ: Lobbyist, Gallo & Robinson, LLC
This workshop, designed for first time lobbyists, will cover the legislative process from introduction of bills to passage in the House and Senate. Learn about the committee and screening processes at the caucus level, and the work that happens behind the scenes, so you can make sure your bill gets to a vote in committee and on the floor. 

WORKSHOP B: TACTICS FOR PASSING OR KILLING A BILL 
MELISSA BIGGS: Partner, Depino, Nuñes, & Biggs Government Relations
PETE SMITH: Partner, Rome Smith & Lutz Government Relations
How do lobbyists develop a strategy around an idea? Whether you are focused on passing, killing, or preventing a bill from coming up in the first place, it is good to know the tricks on all sides. These two well-respected political strategists will discuss how to match a strategy with the issue and take action at the appropriate time.

WORKSHOP C: EFFECTIVE GRASS ROOTS
MEL MEDINA: Public Policy and Advocacy Director, ACLU CT
DIEDRE MURCH: Lead Organizer/Elected Organizer, Home Care, State Employees Independent Union, District 1199
TERRA VOLPE: Director of Community Outreach, Connecticut Against Gun Violence
How do you identify those individuals and organizations that can help you win passage of your bill? How do you build your network - and activate it - for the members to communicate effectively with legislators and with you? This workshop will cover how to organize those individuals and organizations effectively to help keep your issues before the legislature. These advocacy leaders will give you a frank assessment of what activities in the field have contributed to the passage of legislation. 

SESSION II -- 11:45am - 12:45pm

WORKSHOP A: LOBBYING ONE-ON-ONE*
REP. JONATHAN STEINBERG: Chair, Public Health Committee, Connecticut House of Representatives
REP. CHRISTIE CARPINO: Caucus Chair, House Republican Caucus
BRIAN COUGHLIN: Lobbyist, Gallo & Robinson, LLC
What’s the difference between a hallway exchange and a formal appointment? How should you prepare for each? What questions should you be prepared to answer? What information should you provide, and in what form? This workshop, led by an experienced lobbyist and a legislator from each party, will give you some best practices to consider. 

WORKSHOP B: WORKING WITH THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH
MICHAEL JOHNSON: Director, Government Relations, Sullivan and LeShane, Inc.
BRIE WOLF: Legislative Liaison, Connecticut Department of Public Health
The Governor, Office of Policy and Management, Commissioners, and beyond. Eventually, you will have to take your case to the Executive Branch. Often state agency budget requests, regulations, contracts, or policies have a greater impact on your organization than legislation. Yet, the state agency decision-making process can be harder to influence than the legislature. These panelists will discuss the role of Legislative Liaisons and how to lobby state agencies.

WORKSHOP C: WORKING WITH THE PRESS
SUSAN HAIGH: Statehouse and Political Reporter, Associated Press
PATTY MCQUEEN: Principal, Communication Strategies 
SUSAN RAFF: Chief Capitol Reporter, WFSB Channel 3
The press can be powerful resource in making (or breaking) the case before the legislature. Editorials, Op-Ed pieces, interviews, letters to the editor and hard-news coverage all resonate with elected officials. What gets the Capitol Press Corps to attend and cover a press conference? What elements must be in a press alert and a press release? Learn from these print, television and communications veterans on what makes a press release or news alert effective, what stories get press attention, and why. 

LUNCHEON -- 12:45pm - 1:30pm

SESSION III -- 1:30pm - 2:30pm

WORKSHOP A: WORKING WITH LEGISLATIVE STAFF*
CARA PASSARO: Chief Legal Counsel, House Democratic Caucus, Connecticut House of Representatives 
JIM IACOBELLIS: Senior Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs, Connecticut Hospital Association
Lobbyists, legislators, and staff work closely alongside each other. Legislators often have both partisan and non-partisan staff with them in meetings. It is important to understand the roles of those staff members, so you can work more effectively. This panel includes a veteran staff member and a former caucus staffer turned lobbyist. They will tell you how each of the committees and nonpartisan offices work from the inside out, and the outside in. They will explain the roles of each of the different staff offices and caucuses, and how to work effectively with them. 

WORKSHOP B: A SUCCESSFUL LOBBYING CAMPAIGN 
REP. SEAN SCANLON: Chair, Insurance and Real Estate Committee, Connecticut House of Representatives
SUZI CRAIG: Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships and Policy, Mental Health Connecticut
BEN SHAIKEN: Manager of Advocacy and Public Policy, Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance
This workshop features a recent case history of a lobbying campaign around a challenging, multi-year issue that was successful, and an honest assessment of why this campaign worked. Was it grassroots lobbying, political connections, timing, luck, or some combination? Two involved lobbyists and a legislative champion will outline what factors contributed to their victory, and the obstacles they faced along the way. 

WORKSHOP C: LOBBYING THE BUDGET 
REP. CATHERINE ABERCROMBIE: Chair, Human Services Committee, Connecticut House of Representatives
SEN. PAUL FORMICA: Deputy Senate Republican Leader, Connecticut State Senate
REP. JAY CASE: Ranking Member, Human Services Committee, Connecticut House of Representatives
KATE ROBINSON: Lobbyist, Gallo & Robinson, LLC
The state budget process is complicated and navigating it can be a challenge. How do you build consensus on budget items? How do you have your priorities heard? Is there any room for a new allocation in this challenging budget environment? These panelists will explain the state budget process, including state agency proposals, the Governor’s budget proposal, the Appropriations Committee public hearings, and beyond.

SESSION IV -- 2:40pm - 3:40pm

WORKSHOP A: TESTIFYING AT PUBLIC HEARINGS*
SEN. MATTHEW LESSER: Chair, Insurance and Real Estate Committee, Connecticut State Senate
REP. ROBYN PORTER: Chair, Labor and Public Employees Committee, Connecticut House of Representatives
ANNA DOROGHAZI: Associate State Director, AARP Connecticut
Now that your bill has been raised for a public hearing, what should you do? How important are public hearings? How can you maximize the effectiveness of this process? Should the lobbyist or the client testify? How many people should testify? Should they deliver live or written testimony? An experienced lobbyist and two committee chairs will give you the inside and outside perspective of what works best and why.

WORKSHOP B: FINAL DAYS AND HOURS 
SEN. GARY WINFIELD: Chair, Judiciary Committee, Connecticut State Senate
REP. VINCENT CANDELORA: Deputy Republican Leader, Connecticut House of Representatives
REP. JEFFREY CURREY: Deputy Majority Leader, Connecticut House of Representatives
BILL WELZ: Lobbyist, Gallo & Robinson, LLC 
In the last days of the legislative session, every second counts. If your bill has made it through one chamber, what is the best advice to getting the bill called in one or both chambers as the clock keeps ticking? Will it be a “talker?” Is it a “consent-able” item? What gets a bill moving? What if it has been passed temporarily? Can it be called again? Who decides? These seasoned leaders and a lobbyist who worked in the Governor’s office will help you plan your arguments and tactics to draw on during the final days and hours. 

WORKSHOP C: TRACKING BILLS AND ONLINE RESEARCH RESOURCES 
PAUL ALDERUCCI: Development Manager, Information Technology Services, Connecticut General Assembly
LISA BRUNO: Consultant, Comprehensive Legislative Services
Explore the informational resources available, including the CGA Webpage. You will learn how to track bills, find bill histories, testimony, proposed substitute language, amendments, and tally sheets. The panelists will cover how to find the fiscal notes, OLR reports, file copies, and what all of that means! You will also find out about resources available to the public, and to lobbyists, provided by the Association of Connecticut Lobbyists, and others.