Leading Annapolis Lobbying Firm Makes Personnel Moves

    In a season of change for the State House lobbying world, one of the oldest and most established Annapolis firms will announce some key personnel moves on Monday.

    Rifkin Weiner Livingston LLC, which also has offices in Baltimore and Bethesda, is naming John (JR) Reith as chief operating officer and Camille Fesche and Brad Rifkin as co-chairs of the firm’s Government Relations Division.

    The announcement comes as Eric Bryant, a longtime firm partner who had been co-chair of the Government Relations Division with Reith, is leaving to become chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.). Bryant, who previously worked for Mfume at the NAACP, helmed the congressman’s recent special election victory.

    The firm said that in addition to his government relations work, Reith will be part of and report directly to the firm’s Executive Management Group. As COO, he will take over the firm’s media, marketing and growth strategies.

    “No one could be better suited to lead the firm’s growth strategies as we head into the next decade,” Alan M. Rifkin, the firm’s managing partner, said in a statement. “JR has demonstrated a terrific aptitude for business development and has extremely deep connections with elected officials, community leaders, and businesses
    across the state.”

    As co-chairs of the firm’s Government Relations Division, Fesche and Brad Rifkin will oversee the firm’s team of lobbyists and their work for a vast array of clients.

    “Camille and Brad have earned our confidence,” said Michael V. Johansen, the firm’s administrative partner.

    The firm’s long list of clients include the Brewers Association of Maryland; Children’s National Health System; Facebook Inc.; FedEx Corp.; Google LLC; Maryland Association of Automobile Dealers; Maryland Jockey Club; Orsted North America Inc.; and the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association.

    Earlier this month, the lobbying arm of a longtime rival of the Rifkin firm, Alexander & Cleaver, essentially went out of business, when the firm’s director of government relations, Barbara Zektick, announced that she was buying A&C’s lobbying assets and changing the name of the company to Z&C, LLC. Also this month, J. William Pitcher, one of Annapolis’ most seasoned lobbyists, joined the national firm Husch Blackwell Strategies.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.