Ellen Williams joins McBrayer's firm bringing former opposite party chairmen together

10/15/2012 09:49 AM

Former Kentucky Republican Party Chairman Ellen Williams will join the lobbying arm of McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, marking the first time in Kentucky that two former party chairmen will serve together as lobbyists.

Terry McBrayer, who has served national Democratic Party committeeman since 1988, became state Democratic Party Chairman in 1995 — four years before Williams took over the state GOP.

Williams, reached by phone in New York where she is attending a meeting of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governor of which she is a member, said she would be bringing her client list with her to McBrayer’s firm.

Her clients include Houchens Industries, Turfway Park in Florence, Altria Client Services, AT&T, Eastern Kentucky University, the Kentucky Association of Counties and Kentucky County Judge-Executive Association, Southern Health Partners, and Centene Corp.

MMLK Government Solutions represents more than 40 clients, which also include AT&T, Morehead State University, Churchill Downs and a host of health care firms and utilities.

Williams said the firms might have to make a few adjustments to avoid potential conflicts. Nov. 1 is the official start date, she said.

She said discussions began this summer with McBrayer and Sean Cutter, director of MMLK Government Solutions.

“I’ve been a sole practitioner since I started six years ago,” she said. “We talked about it. I liked the team … I just really liked the idea to strategize for my clients from both perspectives.”

Williams is a longtime confidant of Republican Senate President David Williams. Both reached key positions in the state political hierarchy around the same time.

But Ellen Williams said her decision to join with McBrayer’s firm had nothing to do with Williams considering to leave the Senate if he’s offered a circuit judgeship.

“It’s coincidental that David and I potentially will make big moves around the same time,” she said.

While Ellen Williams officially has led a one-woman firm, she did contract with Renee Craddock, her former colleague in the governor’s office of local development under Gov. Ernie Fletcher. Craddock is an independent contractor and Williams said they are still in talks about whether Craddock will continue to work with her once the move to McBrayer’s firm is complete.


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