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. 

Registration for the 38th Annual Connecticut Lobbying Conference will be open after Labor Day.

If you are interested in receiving information about the conference or would like to be added to our mailing list for conference announcements please send us a message.

Below is the program for the 37th Annual Connecticut Lobbying Conference that was held on October 17th.  

 

THE 2018 CONNECTICUT LOBBYING CONFERENCE
Thursday, October 4, 2018

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. TERRY GERRATANA: Chair, Public Health Committee, Connecticut State Senate
  • SEN. CATHERINE OSTEN: Chair, Appropriations Committee, Connecticut State Senate
  • REP. JOE ARESIMOWICZ: Speaker, Connecticut House of Representatives
  • REP. THEMIS KLARIDES: House Republican Leader, Connecticut House of Representatives
  • REP. TONI WALKER: Chair: Appropriations Committee, Connecticut House of Representatives
  • REP. BRENDA KUPCHICK: Member, Connecticut House of Representatives
  • REP. CHRIS SOTO: Member, Connecticut House of Representatives

The 2019 session will be a "long" session. Elections will be fresh on the minds of the incoming "class" of 2019. Returning legislators may be in new positions, and the "freshmen" will be looking to make their mark. Legislators will want to make good on campaign promises and will be introducing new ideas. They will also be wrestling with long standing challenges, starting with the budget. But, with challenges come opportunities. What’s the best way to move your agenda forward? How do you get a legislator to champion your cause? 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
ANITA SCHEPKER, Principal, Schepker & Associates
PETE SMITH: Principal, Rome Smith & Lutz Government Relations
What elements help a lobbyist develop a lobbying strategy for an issue or a bill? 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: LOBBYING THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH
MICHAEL JOHNSON: Government Relations Manager, Sullivan and LeShane, Inc.
BRIE WOLF: Legislative Liaison, Connecticut Department of Public Health
The Governor, Office of Policy and Management, Commissioners, etc… eventually you are going to 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.

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

WORKSHOP A: WORKING WITH LEGISLATIVE STAFF*
CARA PASSARO: Counsel, House Democratic Caucus, Connecticut House of Representatives
JIM IACOBELLIS: Director of Government Relations, 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 non-partisan staff person, and a former caucus staff person 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. ROBYN PORTER: Chair, Labor and Public Employees Committee, Connecticut House of Representatives
REP. DEREK SLAP: Vice-Chair, Energy and Technology Committee, Connecticut House of Representatives
MADDIE GRANATO: Policy Manager, Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund
This workshop features a recent case history of a lobbying campaign around challenging issues that was successful, and an honest assessment of why this campaign worked. Was it grassroots lobbying, political connections, timing, luck? These panelists have been directly involved in a recent highly-visible and successful campaign. They will outline what factors contributed to their victory, and the obstacles they faced along the way.

WORKSHOP C: TRACKING BILLS AND ONLINE RESEARCH RESOURCES
PAUL ALDERUCCI: Project 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 and Office of Legislative Research Reports for file copies and for bills that have passed. You will also find out about resources available to the public, and to lobbyists, provided by the Association of Connecticut Lobbyists, and others.

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

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

WORKSHOP A: LOBBYING ONE ON ONE*
REP. JEFF CURREY: Deputy Majority Leader, Connecticut House of Representatives
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, will give you some best practices to consider.

WORKSHOP B: FINAL DAYS AND HOURS
SEN. GARY WINFIELD: Chair, Banking and Energy & Technology Committees, Connecticut State Senate
REP. VINCENT CANDELORA: Deputy Republican Leader, Connecticut House of Representatives
BETTY GALLO: 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 lobbyist will help you plan your arguments and tactics to draw on during the final days and hours.

WORKSHOP C: LOBBYING THE BUDGET
REP. CATHERINE ABERCROMBIE: Chair, Human Services Committee, Connecticut House of Representatives
REP. FRED WILMS: Appropriations, Planning and Development and Transportation Committees, 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? 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 Budget they vote on. They will also discuss leadership negotiations, legislative consideration and the Governor’s signature.

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

WORKSHOP A: TESTIFYING AT PUBLIC HEARINGS*
REP. JAY CASE: Ranking Member, Human Services Committee, Connecticut House of Representatives
BEN SHAIKEN: Manager of Advocacy and Public Policy, Connecticut Community Nonprofit Alliance
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? These panelists will give you the inside and outside perspective of what works best and why.

WORKSHOP B: WORKING WITH THE PRESS
CHRIS KEATING: Capitol Bureau Chief, Hartford Courant
PATTY MCQUEEN: Principal, Communication Strategies
SUSAN RAFF: Political Reporter, WFSB- Channel 3
The press is a powerful resource in making (or breaking) the case at 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.

WORKSHOP C: EFFECTIVE GRASS ROOTS
MERRILL GAY: Executive Director, Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance
KATIE TRABER: Political Director, Service Employees Independent Union, District 1199
DIERDRE MURCH: Lead Organizer/Elected Organizer, Home Care, Service Employees Independent Union, District 1199
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 - in order for the members to communicate effectively with legislators and with you? This workshop will also 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.

Workshop space is limited –  If you would like to be added to our mailing list for the 2019 Lobbying Conference please use our contact form here.