Best Lobbyist Houston 2002 - Elizabeth Cary Grace
This Houston assistant city attorney took over direction of the city lobbying team last year and had a promising maiden session. The 42-year-old neophyte impressed capitol veterans with a low-key approach combined with a tenacity that belies her five-foot-one, 110-pound frame. Grace volunteered for the job when her boss, City Attorney Anthony Hall, took over supervision of the lobbying program from the mayor's office in 1999. "They literally threw me to the wolves," chuckles Grace, "and I didn't get eaten. People were surprised." Statistics bear her out. Of 18 bills introduced on behalf of the city, 16 passed. Overall, the lobbying team prevailed on 94 percent of the positions taken for or against legislation. Grace says she quickly learned that many of the actions of legislators had little or nothing to do with the merits of a particular bill. "Their past drives them," she notes, "and that history was the most important thing for me to learn." It's a cram course she'll be continuing when the legislature reconvenes next spring.