Montpelier- Lawmakers in Vermont are missing something other states have. That is having a staff all of their own. Due to that, lawmakers must work closely with a group of people that are paid by companies to represent their interests in Montpelier.
Allison Crowley-DeMag of Morris and DeMag Incorporated is a lobbyist who works hard to get her clients heard by the state government. She has been working in the Vermont Statehouse for over 20-years. Over that time, she has successfully promoted laws on product stewardship, clean air initiatives, transportation issues, and regulation of health professionals.
"I'm a contract lobbyist which means I represent a number of different interests," she explains. "I have about 20 different clients from the World Wide Automobile manufactures, Anheuser-Busch, pharmaceutical companies, down to dental hygienists and podiatrists. It's what I do."
At this time she is 1 of 543 registered lobbyists working in the Statehouse. Some senators are very grateful for lobbyists' work, but they all know that they have to take what they say and get the other point of view regarding the topic.
"[What] you quickly find out up here is a lobbyist is your best friend if you use them wisely," Senator Peg Flory of Rutland County said. "My standard answer to them was who are you representing, give me your strongest points, no more than two pages double spaced and at the bottom let me know the lobbyist that has the exact opposite point of view."
Governor Candidate Matt Dunne has a different view on the lobbyists in the Statehouse.
"What I think is critical though at this moment is make sure we restore and build the trust of Vermonters," Dunne said. "That what is being decided in Montpelier is actually people who are earnestly looking out for the best interests of their constituents and for Vermonters."
At this time, lobbyists are present in the Vermont Statehouse, where they spread clients' message to lawmakers. Crowley-DeMag is no stranger to being in the statehouse.
Crowley-DeMag is a 7th generation Vermonter. She is the daughter of the late Senator Tom Crowley of Chittenden County. He served in the Vermont Senate as a Democrat from 1967 to 1991. Crowley-DeMag says her father started to bring her to the Statehouse when she was 10-years-old. She says her father helped shape her future in the Vermont Statehouse, and now years later, she is still there now working to push laws along.
Crowley-DeMag says she plans to continue to work as a lobbyist for another 20-years. She also would like to try running for the Senator of Chittenden in honor of her father.