New England Council’s Washington Leaders’ Summit 2024 | Public Affairs Update

Last week, Taylor Connolly and Alex Fries joined over 250 New England Council members for a two-day summit in Washington, D.C., to hear insights and network with policymakers and elected officials on the issues, policies, and legislation impacting Boston, Massachusetts, and New England. The summit provided a unique opportunity to share the impact of our clients’ work in the region.

Boston Globe Senior Opinion Writer and MSNBC Contributor Kimberly Atkins Stohr and Punchbowl News Managing Editor Heather Caygle shared insights on the current political climate in Washington D.C. and their perspective on upcoming political races in New England in the fall. As folks settled into the event, it was a wonderful opportunity to appreciate our region’s diversity of businesses, industries, and expertise.

New England Council’s Washington Leaders’ Summit 2024

We followed up the discussion with conversations with congressional staff on Capitol Hill. During one meeting, we discussed many issues, including how institutions are trying to support better student mental health, an upcoming report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office assessing access for students with disabilities nationwide, and guidance on how schools can apply for IRA green infrastructure funding. Another conversation included insights into the newly released bipartisan Senate AI roadmap, as well as a wide-ranging open discussion with industry leaders from our region’s world-leading healthcare industry and congressional health policy staff on the work of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP).

Key takeaway: Remember that members of Congress can be essential allies to organizations. Find ways to engage with them and their staff through letters of support, grant resources, and guidance around funding assistance. Also, relaying daily realities and innovations to your delegation is critical in national policymaking, whether in private industry or at a nonprofit.

Congressman Bill Keating (D-MA), Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA), and Jim Brett, President & CEO New England Council
Congressman Bill Keating (D-MA), Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA), and Jim Brett, President & CEO New England Council

Public Relations Global Network sister agency Xenophon

To round out our tour of DC, we also visited Public Relations Global Network sister agency Xenophon Strategies, Inc. It was a productive morning filled with swapping stories about our previous roles in government, politics, and the media and sharing tactics and ideas on building and advancing issue- and advocacy-based campaigns on the local, state, and national levels.

Alex Fries and Taylor Connolly visit Xenophon in Washington D.C.
Left to Right: Alex Fries, Taylor Connolly, David Fuscus, CEO & President; Mark Hazlin, Senior Vice President

The annual Washington Leaders’ Summit is a welcome opportunity to connect with partners in the region and counterparts in our nation’s capital to discuss issues more deeply, lay the groundwork for creative strategies, and build connections with policymakers, congressional and agency staff, and even more of New England’s influential business ecosystem.

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Profile Picture for Author Taylor Connolly at The Castle Group
Written By: Taylor Connolly


Outdoors of the Castle Group office