"When they come to town ... we'll ... accompany them to Capitol Hill ... to make their trip to Washington a 'two-fer,' if you will."
Paul Rodgers knocked NARUC on its ear last July when he announced his resignation as executive of that century-old association.
Rodgers, also general counsel, had served the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners for more than 30 years.
His unexpected move came in the midst of strategic planning at NARUC. The blueprint called for the association to boost its influence in Congress and win more notice from members in the face of what the association saw as declining interest among federal lawmakers in state regulatory matters.
Undaunted, NARUC didn't sit back. In November, four months after Rodgers gave notice, NARUC amended its constitution to allow persons other than attorneys to serve under contract as the association's day-to-day executive. This change (em away from legal scholarship toward deal making and a more engaged constituency (em paved the way for Peggy Welsh, NARUC's new executive. In hiring her, NARUC appeared to say, "We want someone who can sell ideas rather than develop policy,"
especially when it comes to electric industry deregulation.
The outspoken, decidedly unlawyerly like Welsh is herself an alumnus of another electric industry association. Welsh is also a government relations advocate who started her career as an aid in both the U.S. Senate and the Ford Administration. She makes eye contact like a sales rep and falls easily into the free-flowing banter of a seasoned lobbyist.
"I'm not shy," she insists.