Beltrami County, Minnesota voted to engage a lobbyist to get a piece of the stimulus pie.
“Why can’t we do this through our representatives?” asked Lucachick. “I’m not a big fan of lobbyists, and Washington is a long ways away. We should work with our representatives in St. Paul, and they should work for us.”
But Commissioner Quentin Fairbanks said David Turch & Associates does more than just make appointments for commissioners when they visit the Capitol.
“I’ve been to Washington with them, and they set up meetings with our senators and representatives,” he said. “That is a big thing.”
“But it’s not just setting up appointments, as they also work with staff, in which they are in daily contact,” added Commissioner Jack Frost. “They help find the vehicle onto which our funding can be attached.”
Lucachick asked if the benefit gained exceeds the $36,000 contract.
“Is there a direct cost benefit? Yes,” said County Administrator Tony Murphy, adding the firm helped gain Beltrami County a $32,000 a year juvenile justice grant, secured several hundred thousand dollars for Bemidji Regional Airport improvements, and successfully inserted policy on the county’s behalf to increase the federal reimbursement rate for Title IV-E child protection cases involving tribal children.