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Attorneys Leading the Way

Lori Chesser, Tim Coonan, and Sydney Gangestad Advocate for Iowa in Washington D.C. - May 31, 2019

In mid-May, immigration attorney Lori Chesser, and government relations attorneys Tim Coonan and Sydney Gangestad joined the Greater Des Moines Partnership on the 40th annual DM/DC trip to advocate for central Iowa with our members of Congress and their staff in Washington D.C.

The trip brings together about 180 Iowans to travel to D.C. for three days packed full of meetings with legislators, policy staffers, educational workshops about issues impacting Iowans, and some tourism.

All three attorneys praised the work of the Partnership for putting together an amazing agenda and organizing such a complicated trip.

Whether watching Senator McConnell from the Senate Gallery, following the venerable Joseph Jones, Director of the Harkin Institute, on a nighttime walking tour of the national monuments, or watching Iowa’s full congressional delegation unite on issues important to our state including flood recovery, the trip provides great opportunities for connections and advocacy.

“For me, the trip is a great opportunity to grow professionally and to make connections with other Iowans as well as the congressional delegation and staffers. The highlight was the address by Joni Ernst and Kirsten Gillibrand. When introducing Gillibrand, Senator Ernst discussed the true bi-partisan nature of their work, and the friendship they have formed.  Through the constant buzz about the polarization of our nation’s leaders, it was refreshing to see that senators from different parties and different geographic areas can find common ground and a true friendship.” - Sydney Gangestad

“I always appreciate the Iowa Reception. The Partnership invites all Iowans living in D.C. and working in politics to join us at the reception and it is such an impressive showing of how many Iowans are impacting us from their work in D.C.” -Tim Coonan

Some of Davis Brown’s government relations clients have offices in D.C. or have national lobbyists working on issues at the nation’s Capital, so Tim and Sydney took the opportunity to meet with clients. They also were able to discuss with legislators and their staffers issues important to clients. Lori Chesser did the same, leading a delegation of attendees and foreign physicians, to meet with the congressional delegation to discuss the importance of immigration to public health, especially in rural Iowa and the proposed Physician Access Reauthorization Act.

Lori also moderated an immigration workshop with Hanna Siegel, Managing Director of New American Economy. Hanna presented NAE’s recent findings on immigration polling and their proposal for reforming the system. Attendees at this session, and at a roundtable with Congressional staffers that she also moderated, discussed how changes in immigration law impact Iowa businesses and the economy in our state.

“I was thrilled to see people engage around immigration policy especially with regard to the difficult situation physicians from India find themselves in now because of long waiting lines for a ‘green card’.  It is eye-opening to both participants from Iowa and Congressional staffers when we sit down together.”

“I introduced two doctors from India to Senator Ernst and Representative Axne. They were so pleased to be able to meet them in person and discuss their concerns informally. The willingness of our members of Congress to show up at these events is not something we should take for granted. It makes the legislative process better.” - Lori Chesser