1. Describe your role as a policy advisor. What does this work entail?
I help clients navigate the often treacherous waters of Tennessee politics. I am a registered lobbyist and represent business interests before the Tennessee General Assembly and executive branch. I have participated in various administrative rule-making proceedings and have appeared before state agencies and commissions. In addition to lobbying work, I have experience in campaign finance law and manage and coordinate fundraising and campaign contributions for clients and the firm’s political action committee.
2. How and why did you make the transition from a practicing attorney to a policy advisor?
As the daughter of a District Attorney General in a small town in East Tennessee, I grew up with an interest in law and a love of politics. I watched my father shake hands and attend pancake suppers all over his district for 32 years. Knowing that I wanted to be a criminal lawyer like my dad someday, I pursued an undergraduate major in political science and spent a semester in college working as an intern in the Chief Clerk’s Office of the Tennessee House of Representatives. Fast forward through law school, a federal clerkship, and a six-year stint as a commercial litigator to December 2009, when an opportunity opened up to join Dick Lodge in the firm’s Government Advocacy Practice Group. It was a perfect fit for me, and I love working on the hill.
3. Have you seen a shift in the local government priorities as a result of the national election? What are some interesting trends happening right now related to your practice?
As a state with a Republican governor and super-majority Republican legislature, Tennessee is well-positioned to benefit from a Trump presidency. In fact, several members of the Tennessee congressional delegation have played integral roles on Trump’s transition team. However, the impact or benefit this will have on local governments (and the Democratic mayors who represent the largest four cities in the state) is unclear. In recent years, the legislature has taken more control away from local governments that may have more progressive policies or laws. I suspect that the trend will continue for social issues relating to LBGTQ rights and refugee safe havens. As for issues like mass transit and transportation infrastructure, Tennessee may receive more federal help from the new administration. May the odds be ever in your favor…