From the Edmonds Mayor: Lobbyists and advocates

Dave Earling

At the national level we hear a great deal about lobbyists in Washington D.C. Some resulting publicity is not always favorable. Yet, I must say, whether in Washington or Olympia, lobbyists play a critical and vital role for state, county and city governments as well as non-profit, business, industry and special interest groups.

Lobbyists are essential to the success of any endeavor at most every level of government. More to the point though, it is important for us to work with lobbyists who we know and who have credibility at the state and federal level.

We are fortunate in Edmonds to have excellent people at both levels. In Olympia, Jennifer Ziegler works on our behalf. I first met Jennifer when she was working for the State Department of Transportation, and later when she was a policy staffer for Governor Gregoire.

Jennifer has now worked for us for two years. She keeps us up to date, daily if needed, on important issues to Edmonds, the region and the state. She also works closely with other lobbyists and the Association of Washington Cities (AWC). She has developed strong relationships with our local legislators, key chairs of the various committees, and the Governor’s office.

If there are hearings on important issues for Edmonds, she lets us know if we need to testify, or meet with legislators or key staff. Several of our staff members are called upon during the session to give testimony on behalf of both the city and professional organizations. I make several trips to Olympia a year to meet with legislators and key staff as well as give testimony.

Jennifer has played a crucial role in securing the state funding we have received for the Waterfront Connector Project and, if the state passes the Capital Budget, her work will have helped us obtain funding for waterfront improvements, a new roof on the Anderson Center, and funding for the new Senior/Community Center.

Lastly, Jennifer comes to Edmonds in the fall to assist the council and me in developing our legislative agenda for the next session. She gives an end-of-session legislative report at a City Council meeting and, on occasion, attends Snohomish County Cities meetings with other lobbyists for reports.

At the Washington, D.C. level we work with Tim Lovain, of Crossroads Strategies, whom I have known for several years. I worked with Tim for many years with Sound Transit. He knows our state very well, having received his law degree from the U of W as well as representing other clients throughout the region such as the Port of Everett and the Washington State Department of Transportation. Interestingly, he is on the Alexandria, Virginia City Council so he understands the needs of local government too.

When we put together the Waterfront Connector Project, we knew we would need strong representation at the federal and state levels to assemble the $30 million needed for the project. Having Jennifer in Olympia was a major beginning; however, we also needed quality and thorough representation in D.C., and Tim fills that role. Along with that, Tim also searches for grants and notifies us of major shifts in policy which could impact any of our city’s needs.

Again, having someone like Tim working for us is critical. He has been working for us about a year and a half and knows all our Washington State federal delegation and their staff very well. When we were in D.C. last December, he set up key meetings with staff and our state federal delegation. He too keeps us advised on important emerging issues and with the current daily changing flow in D.C., we hear from him often!

Tim recently flew out and spent the day with us in Edmonds so he could get a first-hand look at the many projects we are working on and determine how he could best help us move these projects forward: projects like Civic Field, our two waterfront projects and Highway 99. In addition he spoke at a City Council meeting.

As an aside, when Phil Williams, Patrick Doherty and I were in D.C. last year, as we were walking with Tim through one of the busy tunnels connecting Congressional staff buildings, Patrick leaned to me and said, “Everyone knows him!”


— By Dave Earling, Edmonds Mayor

  1. Thanks for this Mayor Dave, lobbyist get a bad rap but the information they provide lawmakers is vital. The conventional wisdom is that they’re all self-serving leeches. Not!

  2. Yes, lobbyists contribute much to the inner workings of governments, whether city, state or country. If only many of them would not abuse their position and politicians did not use them to “enhance” campaigns.

  3. Yes, and aren’t local Mayors keeping up with what is happening in our area? Not relying on other politicians to make decisions and tell them whats happening? I thought that was the job of a mayor or am I being naiive?

    1. We are fortunate Joy, Mayor Earling is one of the best informed mayors in the area. He is also is a terrific advocate for Edmonds at the county, state, and national level.

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