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Nonprofit Releases List Of Top 50 Influential N.C. Lobbyists

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research has released its list of the top 50 most influential lobbyists in the state.

The rankings were compiled after surveys of lawmakers, lobbyists and reporters. According to the rankings, 11 lobbyists are first-timers.

"There's a lot of flux in who's perceived as being the most influential in the Legislature among lobbyists," said Ran Coble, executive director of the center.

According to the list, the top lobbyist is Don Beason, who represents 20 groups, some of which are in the health care, telecommunications and computer industries.

The most impressive debut was by Theresa Kostrzewa, who broke into the top 10. Kostrzewa is a contract lobbyist representing several interests, including video poker.

Another new addition to the list is lottery lobbyist Meredith Norris, who was ranked 23rd. She helped lottery company Scientific Games get attention just as the games won approval.

Rufus Edmisten, a former state attorney general turned contract lobbyist, made the list for the first time. He was ranked 20th.

Rounding out the bottom of the list is newcomer Bob Hall of Democracy North Carolina, who came in at 49th. The nonpartisan group started the investigation into House Speaker Jim Black's campaign finances.

John Rustin of the N.C. Family Policy Council came in at No. 50. His conservative non-profit lobbied to prevent the state lottery and ban video poker.

Researchers said the rankings can help illustrate which interests and organizations have clout with state lawmakers.


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