Keel has moved up a notch to the fifth spot on the hired guns list as a result after being ranked as highest-ranked female lobbyist in Texas for years.
Keel has been the ultimate contradiction in stereotype in a cutthroat industry that’s been dominated at the top by older white men. Keel will always owe Toomey a significant debt of gratitude for taking her under his wing and serving as one of the most valuable mentors a young upstart could ever hope to have. Some aspiring young lobbyists might think Keel had lost her mind with a decision to go solo at a time when Toomey would ostensibly be making them both richer in the wake of the COVID-19 role for the governor. But Keel has a chance to flourish now as a lobbyist whose services will be in greater demand without the inevitable baggage that apprenticeships and partnerships bring.
Toomey faces another novel new challenge that he hadn’t foreseen in his role as a covid response commander. For the first time in almost two decades, Toomey won’t have Lara Keel as a partner in light of her decision to go out on her own after spending her entire lobby career in his shadow. But Keel’s newfound independence is a wake up call for Toomey who no longer has the luxury of coasting with her as the number two. The amicable break-up should make them both stronger – and Keel has moved up a notch to the fifth spot on the hired guns list as a result after being ranked as highest-ranked female lobbyist in Texas for years.
I got to know Lara Keel through her work at the Texas Lobby Group and the Texas Association of Business. There is a reason Lara was named the top female lobbyist by Capitol Inside. She is the best political strategist I have worked with. She has long-standing relationships with legislators and understands nuanced issues. Legislators work with Lara because she is honest, ethical, and will work to find creative solutions. In my opinion, Lara is the top lobbyist in Texas. I highly recommend her.
I’ve known Lara since her time at the state’s largest business group over 20 years ago, and she’s now at the top of the lobby game in Texas. Lara represented Stratus Properties in a very difficult transaction, which involved multiple agencies as well as legislation. She not only headed the team, she knew who to bring in and partner with to achieve what we needed to win. No one will outwork her, and her communication skills, availability, and responsibility to me as her client, were key.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Lara through various legislative roles during the past 12 years. Lara is a true legend in and around the Texas Capitol, and with good reason – she is unwavering in her devotion to her clients to do exactly what she says she will do, and accomplishing exactly what she says she will accomplish. Very few lobbying professionals come close to having Lara’s heart, creating unmatched value for her clients and colleagues.
“When I have legislative needs in Austin, my first call is always to Lara Keel. We have worked together for multiple organizations on complex issues. Lara is an expert in focusing on our legislative needs and provides successful results as our legislative priorities move through the complicated web of the legislative process. I know Lara provides value for our legislative dollar and far surpasses our expectations with her legislative leadership and knowledge.”
“Lara has consistently been ranked as one of the top lobbyists in Texas for good reasons. She is hardworking, dedicated and liked by members, staff and other lobbyists. She is a great asset to any team she works with. When you ask Lara to work on something her immediate response is ‘I’m on it!'”
“I first met Lara Keel over 18 years ago, and have worked alongside her as a State Representative, and subsequently as an active member in trade associations she ably represents – the Texas Land Title Association and the Real Estate Council of Austin. I have seen first-hand Lara’s strategic insight, commitment to client success, and grit. And I trust and respect her implicitly.”
Lara Keel, #6 Hired Gun Lobbyist in 2019.
Lara Keel – a former state Senate aide– is ranked higher than any other woman who represents multiple clients at the Capitol like she’d been in the early stages of every regular session since 2011.
Keel is only the second female lobbyist to crack the top 10 on the hired gun list since the rankings were conceived in early 2003. Keel has moved into a league of her own as the only woman in the Austin to climb as high as sixth on the hired gun chart where she appears this year.
The keys to Keel’s success have been a genuine and gracious nature that’s made it possible for her to rise above the cutthroat competition that’s an inevitable part of the territory in the business of legislative lobbying. Keel is one of the few if not the only full-time lobbyist who’s universally beloved and respected among her peers in the profession here. Keel’s one of the best in the business here in large part as a function of natural talent and a perpetual desire to keep getting better. She gives Toomey a massive amount of credit for what she’s achieved since he took her under his wing when she entered the occupation that she’s loves as much as anyone could.
Austin lobbyist Lara Keel is the first woman in the past 12 years to be ranked among the ten most powerful hired guns at the Texas Capitol. She’s only the second female to have that distinction since the lobby rankings were conceived in 2003.
Simmons will have a hall-of-fame level lobbyist as a mentor in her new profession as a new member of Mike Toomey’s team at the Texas Lobby Group. Simmons’ affiliation with the firm that Bill Messer and Toomey co-founded also will give her a chance to learn the ropes of the trade from Lara Keel, a highly-respected lobbyist who’s one of the group’s charter members.
Lara Keel is Texas’ most powerful female lobbyist. Starting her career as a staffer in the legislature, Keel now represents the interests of state regulators and law makers.
Lara Keel, a long-time lobby partner of Mike Toomey in one of Austin’s premier political-influence firms.
The rankings in 2011 reflect the growing presence and clout that a newer generation of public affairs professionals have now at the Capitol as the proverbial torch is passed to them. Keel is a prime example – having been elevated to partnership status with lobby titans Bill Messer and Toomey in the star-studded group they lead at the same time she’s become the go-to lobbyist for women legislators at the Capitol. Keel – as a result – has vaulted into the top 20 on the hired gun lobby list after being ranked a rising star lobbyists just four years ago.
I can think of no one who is a greater woman of power and influence in representing businesses before the Legislature and agencies in Texas than Lara Keel. She is a standout in her field.
And its lobbyists are among the most influential…… Lara Laneri Keel, another Republican heavyweight who previously lobbied for the Texas Association of Business and serves on the board of the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute.
Some of the lobby’s brightest young members like…Lara Keel…have graduated from the rising stars list in 2007.
A longtime politico in her own right.