K Street Files: Holiday Dreams

Posted December 23, 2008 at 11:25am

Lobbying organizations can’t send Members gifts this holiday week, but one group took the occasion to dispatch its 2009 economic stimulus wish list to Capitol Hill leaders Tuesday.

[IMGCAP(1)]Ten companies and lobbying groups, under the umbrella of the Campaign to End Obesity, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urging them to include the campaign’s priorities in legislation to stimulate the economy. A new stimulus measure is expected to be a top priority once the new Congress convenes Jan. 6.

The Campaign to End Obesity is calling for infrastructure projects that promote bike riding and walking to encourage Americans to get more exercise. The campaign also sent a copy of the letter to the Obama transition team.

“It’s critical that Congress think not only about how to stimulate the economy broadly speaking, but how to do it in a way that benefits Americans over the long run,” said Venn Strategies’ Stephanie Silverman, a consultant to the group. “Making investments in bridges and roads is great. But placing those investments in the kind of basic infrastructure that will get children and adults outside — walking, biking, taking care of themselves and doing so safely — will yield returns for decades to come.”

The letter asks Congress to designate more funding for a “Safe Routes to School” program. It added that not only would such projects create jobs, but they would also lead to healthier Americans and that could help limit rising health care costs.

“While we recognize there are many competing priorities in this process, we also believe that this effort is an appropriate and timely opportunity to … provide needed jobs … by helping to address health challenges that are plaguing our citizens at alarming rates,” the letter stated.

Groups that signed the letter include the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Partnership for Prevention, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Healthcare Leadership Council, Johnson & Johnson, National Association of Chronic Disease Directors and the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.

Stimulating the Lobby Biz. In these final days of 2008, clients are gearing up for what promises to be a busy legislative year in 2009. In recent days, several companies and groups have signed up lobbying firms to help them navigate the economic stimulus process, according to recent lobbying disclosures filed with the Secretary of the Senate.

Stamford, Conn.-based developer Antares Walter Wheeler Drive has tapped Cassidy & Associates to help it secure stimulus funding and to work on the highway bill reauthorization. Cavarocchi-Ruscio-Dennis Associates is getting a piece of the action through new client Biothera, a biotech company looking at “tax provisions in economic stimulus legislation,” according to its LDA filing.

And Fulcrum BioEnergy has hired Dow Lohnes Government Strategies to work on economic stimulus loan guarantee programs as well as biofuel and climate change legislation.

K Street Moves. Former Texas Rep. Max Sandlin (D) has been named a partner at Mercury Public Affairs. When Sandlin was in the House, he served as chief deputy Whip to now-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and was also a member of the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.

“During his near decade in the House of Representatives, Max was one of his party’s most influential and respected members,” Mercury’s Managing Partner Kieran Mahoney said in a statement. “Given his proven track record of success, we are very pleased to have someone of Max’s caliber and reputation leading Mercury’s government relations practice in Washington, DC.”

Sandlin is married to Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.).

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