Anne Wexler, Political Adviser and Lobbyist, Dies at 79

By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 8, 2009

Anne Wexler, 79, a prominent Washington lobbyist who was also one of the pioneering women in the lobbying arena, died Friday, it was announced on the PR Newswire. She had cancer.

Wexler was described as the first woman to own a lobbying firm.

"When I started," as a lobbying firm owner almost 30 years ago, she once said, "there were very few women in lobbying. It was completely male dominated."

Wexler who had been an assistant to President Jimmy Carter, and a Commerce Department official in his administration, founded the firm in 1981 that later became Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates.

While managing the Senate campaign of Joe Duffey (who became her husband) in 1970 in Connecticut, she enlisted both Bill and Hillary Clinton as volunteers. Hillary Clinton introduced her last year during her own presidential primary campaign as the woman who gave her her first job in politics.

She was regarded as an informal adviser to the Clinton administration during its two terms in office.

Washingtonian magazine once listed her among the 10 most powerful lobbyists and said, "she is easily the most influential female lobbyist in a world still dominated by men."

She was a graduate of Skidmore College.

She died at home in Washington, according to Dale W. Snape, chairman of the Wexler & Walker firm. Her survivors include her husband and four children.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company