Lara Keel:

Lara Laneri Keel has over twenty-five years of experience in and around the Texas Capitol. She was a founder and partner in the Texas Lobby Group since its inception in 2002 before striking out on her own in 2020. Lara has been representing the interests of a broad portfolio of Texas Associations and Fortune 500 Companies before state legislators, agencies, regulators and Texas policymakers (78th- 86th Legislative Sessions).

Prior to founding the Texas Lobby Group, Lara served as an in-house business lobbyist with the Texas Association of Business and Chambers of Commerce (TABCC), the state’s largest business association, and continues to serve TABCC as an Executive Committee and Board Member. During her tenure at TABCC, Keel was an expert on healthcare and employer-sponsored healthcare issues. Prior to her tenure at TABCC, Lara worked on legislative and policy issues in the Texas Senate with a deep policy and legislative understanding of Healthcare, Appropriations and Sunset Advisory Commission issues.

Raised by parents who made their living in a fourth-generation family business, Lara enjoys representing a wide spectrum of business interests at the Texas Capitol. She understands the impact that state government can have on all businesses that operate in Texas.

KEEL HAS BEEN named the top female hired gun lobbyist in Capitol Inside’s Texas Lobby Power Rankings Biennial Report every year since 2011.

A graduate of Texas Tech University with a degree in Political Science and a minor in History, Lara has been a student of Texas politics since 1989, and has built a reputation for success in all aspects of legislative lobbying and management of complicated issues for clients. READ MORE

Zoe Fain (Staff):

Zoe Fain came to Texas back in 2006 where she had previously worked managing a software development team in Phoenix, Arizona, and as an Office Manager for a 500 employee, privately owned Tie Manufacturer in Los Angeles, California. Zoe eagerly started at The Texas Lobby Group and The Garcia Group soon after arriving in Austin.  Things began simply, and after time she took the reins of running the back office for the Texas Lobby Group. When Lara Laneri Keel, partner of The Texas Lobby Group, set off to sail her new ship, Zoe was ecstatically on board to follow. The two have now worked together for over 15 years.

Zoe Fain was raised in Atlanta, Georgia where she attended the Business College at Georgia State University. She now happily raises her very own Texan in the heart of Austin.  You will see her stoking the L.L.K. fires as she runs the back end of things. She wears many hats including but not limited to  accounting, research, and ethics related issues and is a member of the Professional Advocacy Association of Texas.

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.

~Capitol Inside 2017~

“You Get What You Give…”
And other words of wisdom from Lara Keel

Click to read the interview

Recent News:


Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside February 9, 2021

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.

Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside February 9, 2021

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.

Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside February 9, 2021

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.

Capitol Inside 2019

Lara Keel, #6 Hired Gun Lobbyist in 2019.

Capitol Inside 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.

Capitol Inside 2019

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.

Capitol Inside 2019

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.

Capitol Inside 2017

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.

Capitol Inside 2015

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.

Guardian Liberty Voice 2014

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.

Texas Tribune 2014

Lara Keel, a long-time lobby partner of Mike Toomey in one of Austin’s premier political-influence firms.

Capitol Inside 2011

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.

Austin Business Journal, Nancy Ebe, Ebe & Associates 2010

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.

Dallas Morning News 2009

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.

Capitol Inside 2009

Some of the lobby’s brightest young members like…Lara Keel…have graduated from the rising stars list in 2007.

Dallas Morning News 2005 & Capitol Inside 2006

A longtime politico in her own right.

Contact Us