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Special Interests: Judy Sarasohn

Indians Build 'Emerging Presence' in Capital

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, October 28, 2004; Page A23

The National Congress of American Indians, founded in 1944 to monitor and protect tribal interests, wants to move out of rented digs and buy its own building in downtown Washington, reflecting Native Americans' growing involvement in politics and advocacy.

NCAI began a $12 million capital campaign at its annual convention earlier this month to buy a building and establish an American Indian Hall of Nations. A display of flags from every tribal nation in the United States is to "underscore the broad array of governments that exist in Indian Country," according to the group.

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"It's a long time coming," NCAI President Tex G. Hall said in an interview. "We have an emerging presence. . . . It's clearly going to show our foothold in the capital."

NCAI members want the building in the capital to be near not just the Bureau of Indian Affairs but also the Energy, Commerce and Defense departments, as well as other agencies that have an impact on Indian affairs, Hall said. The building will house NCAI offices, space for meetings with lawmakers and members of the administration, and offices for tribal officials and members who come to town for business.

"Unfortunately, the first Americans have been the forgotten Americans," said Hall of the continuing widespread poverty and health and education problems in Indian Country. He is also chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation in North Dakota.

Hall hopes that a higher visibility in Washington and increased lobbying, combined with a strong voter registration effort will help Native Americans better hold lawmakers and administration officials accountable for their Indian trust responsibilities.

Once the NCAI gets its office building, it may consider acquiring an "embassy." Said Hall: "We're certainly not going to stop with an office building."

Schall to Lead Community Development Group

John A. Schall, a domestic policy adviser to former President George H.W. Bush, has moved from the law firm of Alston & Bird to lead the National Congress for Community Economic Development. The NCCED, which represents community development corporations, named Schall its president and chief executive; he succeeds Roy Priest who retired.

Schall, who was then-Senate majority leader Bob Dole's chief budget adviser, has been managing Dole's consulting practice at Alston & Bird. Also while at the firm, Schall served as executive director of the National Business Coalition on E-Commerce and Privacy.

He said he was excited about joining an organization that has "34 years of being on the front lines of serving communities." But he noted, "Once you work for Bob Dole, you always work for Bob Dole."

Ubl Opens Lobbying Firm

Health care lobbyist Stephen J. Ubl has left the Advanced Medical Technology Association, where he was executive vice president for government relations, to open his own lobby shop -- Ubl Health Solutions. Among his clients are Edwards Life Sciences Corp. and Alcon Laboratories.

Earlier, he was the chief lobbyist for the Federation of American Hospitals and even earlier, he worked for Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).

Cohen Joins Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice

Furthermore . . . Robert Cohen, national policy counsel at the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT), has joined Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice.

He'll be part of the firm's real estate practice group and will also lobby on real estate and telecommunications issues. Before joining NAREIT, Cohen opened the D.C. office of the telecom company Intrado Inc., managing its governmental affairs staff. Earlier he was director of congressional affairs for the Personal Communications Industry Association. He also was a counsel to the Senate Committee on Small Business.

APCO Worldwide's public affairs team has taken on two new folks: Roger Lowe, a former Washington bureau chief for the Columbus Dispatch and more recently a senior vice president of Porter Novelli and director of its D.C. public affairs practice, and Mike Tuffin, from America's Health Insurance Plans and the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America.

The American Cancer Society has added two media advocacy managers to its government relations department: Trista Hargrove of the Walker Merchant Group and Colleen Wilber of O'Neill and Associates in Boston.

The Hauser Group, a public interest public relations firm, has signed on Julia Appel from NOW and Crystal Streuber, a reporter at the Beaufort Gazette, as communications assistants. Lynsey Kluever leaves the shop for the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin.

Rita Norton, who stepped down as vice president for government affairs earlier this year at Amgen, has joined AmerisourceBergen, a pharmaceutical services company. The executive search for the AmerisourceBergen was handled by Korn/Ferry International.

Talking about headhunters . . . Korn/Ferry has signed on Kristin Mannion to recruit executives for the nonprofit sector and work with companies to diversify corporate boards. She comes from Aura Associates and earlier was corporate vice president of government relations and public affairs for PaineWebber Inc. and worked in former New York governor Mario Cuomo's administration.

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