The 2020 Annual
Connecticut Lobbying Conference
went virtual!


We are brought our most popular workshops online for our attendees safety and convenience.  Workshops will took place during the week of October 5th to the 9th with morning and afternoon sessions.  


We are offered three options:  

1) Lobbying Foundations: 

This set of workshops, taken together, offer a strong foundation for anyone new to lobbying, yet still offers skills to people who have knowledge of the process but want to advance their understanding.  Learn from legislators and practitioners in the field about best practices and pitfalls to avoid as you make your case.

2) Advanced Advocacy Skill Building:

This set of workshops builds on existing skills and provides a deeper exploration of the internal and external roles and responsibilities of legislators and staff.   These workshops will cover some of the boundaries and opportunities in the policy making process. 

3) 360 Package – All Workshops:  

Can’t make up your mind?  This option provides the attendees with access to ALL of the workshops. 

Schedule Mon 10/5 Tue 10/6 Wed 10/7 Thu 10/8 Fri 10/9
10:00 – 11:00

Panel – Effective Lobbying 

*10:00 – 11:30**

All attendees

Working with Legislative Staff Working with the Executive Branch Lobbying the State Budget Working with the Press
2:00 – 3:00 

Just the Facts

Fact Sheet Workshop

**All Attendees 

Legislative Process 101  Lobbying One on One  Testifying At Public Hearings  Effective Grass Roots 



While we can not predict the future, we do hope that you'll be able to join un in person for the 40th Annual Connecticut Lobbying Conference in the Fall of 2021.

Below is the full program with presenter and panelist information. 




All Workshops: October 5-9, 2020


Monday, October 5th, 2020

10:00 - 11:30 am - PANEL: HOW TO BE AN EFFECTIVE LOBBYIST – Both Packages

  • SEN. BOB DUFF: Majority Leader, CT State Senate
  • REP. MATT RITTER: Majority Leader, CT House of Representatives 
  • REP. TONI WALKER: Chair, Appropriations Committee, CT House of Representatives 
  • REP. JEFF CURREY: Deputy Majority Leader, CT House of Representatives
  • REP. VINCENT CANDELORA: Deputy Republican Leader, CT House of Representatives 
  • SEN. GARY WINFIELD: Chair, Judiciary Committee, CT State Senate
  • SEN. GEORGE LOGAN: Ranking Member, Human Services Committee and Veterans Affairs Committee, CT State Senate

2019’s ‘long session’ is behind us, and the 2020 ‘short session’ was the shortest session ever. 2021 will bring new faces to the legislature, most notably, to legislative leadership. Despite the new faces, many old challenges and issues persist. What is the best way to move your agenda forward? How do you get a legislator to champion your cause? Featuring leaders from both parties in both chambers, this bipartisan panel of legislators will give you honest advice from their varied perspectives.

2:00 - 3:00 pm - JUST THE FACTS – Both Packages

  • REP. PAT WILSON PHEANIOUS: Former Commissioner of Department of Social Services, Legislator, CT House of Representatives
  • REP. TAMI ZAWISTOWSKI: Ranking Member, Planning & Development Committee, CT House of Representatives
  • BILL WELZ: Lobbyist, Gallo & Robinson

You drafted the policy. You understand the impacts of what you are proposing. You prepped for your conversation with an elected official. What will you hand to an elected official to refresh their memory of the conversation? What can they meaningfully pass onto their colleagues to increase support of your proposal? What can a legislator refer to during a floor speech? These panelists will provide you with tips to make your fact sheets more effective.


Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

10:00 - 11:00 am - WORKING WITH LEGISLATIVE STAFF - Advanced Advocacy Skill Building

  • SUSAN KEANE, Appropriations Committee Administrator, CT General Assembly
  • FRANKLIN PERRY: Director of Policy & Legislative Affairs, House Democratic Caucus, CT House of Representatives
  • LISA HAMMERSLEY, Deputy Executive Director, CT School Finance Project

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 an experienced non-partisan staff, current caucus staff member, and a former caucus staffer 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.

2:00 - 3:00 pm - LEGISLATIVE PROCESS 101 – Lobbying Foundations

  • REP. BOB GODFREY: Deputy Speaker Pro Tempore, Connecticut House of Representatives
  • REP. DAVID MICHEL: Legislator, CT House of Representatives
  • JOE GRABARZ: Lobbyist, Gallo & Robinson

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.

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020

10:00 - 11:00 am - WORKING WITH THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH – Advanced Advocacy Skill Building

  • MICHAEL JOHNSON: Director, Government Relations, Sullivan and LeShane, Inc.
  • BRIE WOLF: Legislative Liaison, Connecticut Department of Public Health
  • BRIAN DURAND, Founding Partner, Intersect Public Solutions

Few policies can be implemented without the Executive Branch. State agency budget requests, regulations, contracts, or policies are likely to have a greater impact on your organization than legislation. Yet, the state agency decision-making process can be harder to influence than the legislature. Learn from these panelists about the role of Legislative Liaisons, Chief of Staff’s, and how to lobby state agencies.

2:00 - 3:00 pm - LOBBYING ONE-ON-ONE – Lobbying Foundations

  • REP. JONATHAN STEINBERG: Chair, Public Health Committee, CT House of Representatives
  • REP. LEZLYE ZUPKUS, Legislator, CT House of Representatives
  • BRIAN COUGHLIN: Lobbyist, Gallo & Robinson, LLC

What is 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 from each party, will give you some best practices to consider.

Thursday, October 8th, 2020

10:00 - 11:00 am - LOBBYING THE STATE BUDGET – Advanced Advocacy Skill Building

  • REP. CATHERINE ABERCROMBIE: Chair, Human Services Committee, CT House of Representatives
  • SEN. PAUL FORMICA: Deputy Senate Republican Leader, CT State Senate
  • REP. JAY CASE: Ranking Member, Human Services Committee, CT House of Representatives
  • KATE ROBINSON: Lobbyist, Gallo & Robinson

The state budget process is complicated and navigating it can be a challenge. How do you build consensus on budget items? How do you have your priorities heard? 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, subcommittees and beyond.

2:00 - 3:00 pm - TESTIFYING AT PUBLIC HEARINGS – Lobbying Foundations

  • SEN. MATTHEW LESSER: Chair, Insurance and Real Estate Committee, CT State Senate
    REP. ROBYN PORTER: Chair, Labor and Public Employees Committee, CT House of Representatives
    ANNA DOROGHAZI: Associate State Director, AARP Connecticut

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? An experienced lobbyist and two committee chairs will give you the inside and outside perspective of what works best and why.

Friday, October 9th, 2020

10:00 - 11:00 am - WORKING WITH THE PRESS - Advanced Advocacy Skill Building

  • SUSAN HAIGH: Statehouse and Political Reporter, Associated Press
  • PATTY MCQUEEN: Principal, Communication Strategies
  • SUSAN RAFF: Chief Capitol Reporter, WFSB Channel 3

The press can be powerful resource in making (or breaking) the case before 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.

2:00 - 3:00 pm - EFFECTIVE GRASS ROOTS – Lobbying Foundations

  • MEL MEDINA: Public Policy and Advocacy Director, ACLU CT
  • DIEDRE MURCH: Lead Organizer/Elected Organizer, Home Care, State Employees Independent Union, District 1199
  • TERRA VOLPE: Director of Community Outreach, Connecticut Against Gun Violence

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 - for the members to communicate effectively with legislators and with you? This workshop will 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.