SBC Dials Texas for Help

Posted November 26, 2003 at 1:28pm

How do you get what you want from telecommunications regulators appointed by President Bush?

If you’re SBC Communications, put them on the payroll.

SBC announced last week that it has appointed former Texas regulator Judy Walsh to a senior position in its Washington office, where she will work with the company’s legislative and regulatory divisions.

Walsh, first hired by SBC two years ago, served on Texas’ Public Utility Commission after being appointed by then-Gov. Bush.

SBC hopes Walsh will help the company strengthen its ties to the Bush administration, which has not been as friendly to SBC and the other Baby Bells as the local phone companies would like.

As senior vice president for government affairs, Walsh will work alongside current top SBC lobbyists Tim McKone, senior vice president of federal relations,

and Jim Smith, senior vice president for regulatory affairs.

“It’s important that we have Judy’s understanding and expertise in Washington,” said William Daley, president of SBC and Commerce secretary in the Clinton administration.

Berry Lands on His Feet. A few months after being passed over for the top Washington job within the wireless phone industry, Steve Berry has been tapped to be a senior lobbyist for the cable companies.

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association announced last week that Berry will become a senior vice president of government relations.

Berry, a Republican, worked for the State Department before becoming a lobbyist for the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association six years ago.

While at the State Department, Berry was caught up in a bitter partisan feud when he was accused of digging up negative information on Bill Clinton when he was running for president. He was later cleared.

Earlier this year, Berry hoped to replace Thomas Wheeler at the helm of the wireless industry lobby, but he was passed over for onetime Rep. Steve Largent (R-Okla.).

Instead, Berry will become the top Republican lobbyist for the cable industry, replacing Pam Turner, who joined the Homeland Security Department earlier this year.

New Think Tank Builds Staff. Just after announcing the arrival of its vice president for federal affairs, the newly founded Center for American Democracy has named its senior vice president for domestic policy.

Mark Agrast, who has taken the post, was the longtime counsel and legislative director to Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.).

The Center for American Democracy, founded by Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, bills itself as the capital’s progressive policy institute.

New Leader for New Year. The American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, will have a new executive director and chief executive officer in January.

Madeleine Jacobs will succeed John Crum, who will retire after two decades of leading the organization.

Jacobs is currently editor in chief of the society’s weekly news magazine, Chemical & Engineering News, where she has been an editor since 1993.

Prior to that, Jacobs worked for 14 years at the Smithsonian Institution, where she launched and managed publication operations for the Smithsonian News Service.

Wexler Walker Vet Switches to New Firm. The law firm Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy has picked up Cynthia Berry as a partner in its health care law and policy practice.

Murphy comes to the firm from Wexler and Walker Public Policy Associates, where she lobbied Capitol Hill and the White House on biotech, pharmaceutical, medical privacy, and Medicare and Medicaid policy issues.

She also has served as Washington counsel for the American Medical Association and legislative assistant to Sen. John Kyl when the Arizona Republican served in the House.