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Personal Statement: I used to think that our system of government was a complete mess. Actually, I haven’t really changed my mind on that, but I do believe that government is, in fact, designed to be a complete mess. Our founding fathers wanted to put together a system of government that just doesn’t do much: too bad they were so successful.

The good news is that government actually isn’t broken and I’ve spent a lifetime figuring out how you and your organization can work the system and beat the odds. If you want to win your government relations issue, let me know how I can help!

Background: In 1988, I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Chapman College in Orange, CA. In pursuit of gainful employment, I moved to Washington, DC almost immediately after graduation, taking a job with a lobbying law firm. My experiences at the firm furthered my interest in the legislative process and inspired me to earn a very interesting (although some might say not entirely useful) Master’s degree in Legislative Affairs. I then tested my academic understanding of the legislative process through a job as a Legislative Assistant on Capitol Hill. Needless to say, the “real world” of working on the hill was vastly different from the text books.

During my first tenure on Capitol Hill, I had the opportunity to be a part of history by losing my job when Republicans took over the House of Representatives in 1994. The member of Congress I was working for was defeated and I was once again in pursuit of employment. A year-long stint as a lobbyist for National Pubic Radio helped me understand how hard it is for organizations and individuals to get their views across to members of Congress and their staffs. In returning to the hill in 1996, I began to parlay my experiences as a lobbyist and congressional aide into an understanding of the best ways to gain the attention of elected officials and their staff. As a Legislative Director and Chief of Staff, I had the opportunity to work with both professional lobbyists as well as citizen activists and realized that many people do not understand how to effectively communicate with an elected official.

In 1999, I wrote Government by the People: How to Communicate with Congress. The goal of the book is to help citizens understand their power to change how government acts. The book served as a catalyst for the opening of my company, AdVanced Consulting, in 2000. Its mission is to build trust between citizens and their government, a goal the AdVanced Consulting team and I seek to achieve through trainings, speeches, consulting and other services. As the self-anointed “Advocacy Guru”, my work is based on a deep and abiding belief that government is effective only when citizens are actively and responsibly engaged. Contrary to popular belief, government isn’t broken: people just need to know how to work the system and beat the odds. Through AdVanced Consulting and now the online Advocacy Classroom, the AdVanced Consulting team is seeking to deliver this message far and wide.

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