Meet Kathleen Nugent

Kathleen Nugent joins the McKeon Group as an Education Policy and Government Affairs Intern for the summer of 2018. As a former teacher, Kathleen brings a nuanced perspective and understanding of both local school issues as well as policy issues.

Kathleen is pursuing her Master of Public Administration through the Romney Institute of Business at Brigham Young University with an emphasis on state and federal government. Prior to her graduate work, Kathleen taught high school chemistry and general science. She taught in traditional public schools for seven years in New York and in public charter schools for five years in Utah.

During her tenure as an educator, Kathleen had the opportunity to engage with students, parents and teachers in a variety of school responsibilities. Her breadth of experience provides Kathleen a unique ability to advocate for a multitude of education-related issues.

Kathleen had the privilege of working with students from a variety of educational and cultural backgrounds. She co-taught biology with a special education teacher for six years in New York.  Kathleen’s experiences as an educator developed her passion for advocacy to ensure equity and access for all learners.

Kathleen is excited to work at the McKeon Group and to increase her knowledge and expertise of federal policy, particularly in the education realm.

Fly-Ins: In-Person Advocacy Makes a Difference

With digital communications permeating nearly every aspect of our lives and creating ways to feel continuously connected to news, points of view and people, it’s tempting to think that these simple connections just might be enough.  It’s appealing to think that all we need to do to influence the legislative process is to send a text, a tweet, post on social media or write a blog post; however, at the McKeon Group we live by the adage: “all politics is local” because it really is true. Regardless of who is in charge in Washington, DC, making the effort to meet in-person with key players in Congress and the Administration really does matter- especially if you want to advocate for and promote a new policy, or ask for a legislative fix. Planning to visit DC is imperative and we can help.

We believe our clients should meet regularly with members of Congress and their staff as well as Administration officials and engage in traditional “shoe leather advocacy”. Building personal relationships with decision makers is critical if you are serious about accomplishing your agenda. At the McKeon Group, we will do everything we can to make it easy and worthwhile.

As part of our commitment to success, clients can expect a full range of professional services that may include:

  • Strategizing policy plans and identifying priorities
  • Creating messages that will resonate with both Republicans and Democrats
  • Identifying champions and recommending key Members and Administration officials
  • Developing messaging materials and leave-behinds
  • Scheduling meetings
  • Securing meeting space and inviting Members of Congress to speak
  • Conducting training for Boards of Directors, executives and staff
  • Facilitating and providing follow-up to Congressional offices and officials

At the McKeon Group, our goal is to help clients cultivate long lasting relationships and generate bipartisan support to achieve lasting results. Please feel free to contact us to plan your next trip to DC!

Chairman McKeon to Receive Silver Spur Award

Chairman McKeon will be honored with the esteemed Silver Spur award for his contributions to the Santa Clarita Valley community on Saturday, March 24th.

The Silver Spur Award is presented to an individual who has served the community in an exemplary way. Chairman McKeon has served the Santa Clarita Valley for over fifty years as a successful businessman, community leader, and elected official.

Chairman McKeon will be recognized for the work he has done within the SCV community, career achievements, and advocacy for education.

On the night of the event, cocktails will be served at 6:00 p.m. followed by a dinner at 7:00 p.m in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Air Force One Pavilion.

Additional information on the schedule of events, location, and attire can be found here.                    Those interested in placing a tribute in the event’s program, click here.                                                    Ticket prices and information can be found here.

Chairman McKeon Named a Featured Speaker for the Worldwide Speakers Group

Chairman McKeon has become a featured speaker for the Worldwide Speakers Group. The Worldwide Speakers Group is the “leading global professional services firm providing innovative solutions in the global lecture industry to corporate, trade, education, and commercial customers worldwide.”

There are a number of requirements that must be met in order to become a featured speaker. Chairman McKeon was selected to be a speaker specializing in the following topics: education, government and politics, inspirational and motivational, leadership and strategic management, news and media, success and teamwork, as well as world and international subjects.

Chairman McKeon’s bio and Worldwide Speakers Group profile can be found here.

The McKeon Group Office Expansion Complete

Following a 2017 year that was full of growth, the McKeon Group took necessary action in order to ensure that their office space could accommodate their growing business. It was announced in the December newsletter that the McKeon Group offices were in the process of expanding. Now, just over a month later, all renovations have been completed and the new expansion is complete.

“Now that our office expansion is complete, we are anxious to get to work,” Howard McKeon, President of the McKeon Group, said. “We expect to capitalize on the growth that took place in 2017 and see even more success in 2018.”

The McKeon Group headquarters are located in Alexandria, Virginia. The expanded offices accompany their current space. With over 9,000 square feet of space, there will now be more than twenty offices and three conference rooms.

Chairman McKeon Recognized At RNDF

Saturday, December 2nd concluded the annual Reagan National Defense Forum held in Simi Valley, California.

The forum was founded with the purpose of “bringing together leaders and key stakeholders in the defense community – including members of Congress, military leaders, industry, scholars, and administration officials – to address the health of our national defense and stimulate discussions that promote policies to strengthen the U.S. military.

Chairman McKeon has played a major role in the forum since its conception, and on Saturday, he received the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Service Award for his efforts and accomplishments within the defense industry.

The McKeon Group Expansion

This year, the McKeon Group saw their business and influence continue to grow within the defense industry while simultaneously launching a successful education and workforce division. The McKeon Group now has clients spanning across a number of industries including: cybersecurity, defense, education, labor, technology, agriculture, transportation, international affairs, and government contracting.

After experiencing continued growth throughout the 2017 year, the McKeon Group expanded their services, their team, and even their offices.

“This year was an exciting and successful year for our company,” Howard McKeon, President of the McKeon Group said. “We expect 2018 to be even better. As a result of our continued growth as both a business and staff, we more than doubled the size of our offices.”

The McKeon Group headquarters are located in Alexandria, Virginia, with the expanded offices accompanying their current space. With over 9,000 square feet of space, there will now be more than twenty offices and three conference rooms.

“The office expansion will allow our team to service more clients as well as ensure that our current clients’ needs are met and exceeded,” McKeon stated.

The new offices are expected to open mid-December of 2017.

The McKeon Group Travels to California

Last weekend, the Chairman and the McKeon Group team traveled to southern California to take part in a number of leadership and defense functions.

The first event was the McKeon Leadership Forum which was held on Thursday, November 30 as part of an annual speaker series designed to help people understand the impact they can make within their own communities. Chairman McKeon launched the forum after he retired from Congress and continues to play an active role in the event each year.

“The McKeon Leadership Forum allows me the opportunity to stay actively involved in my home district, which remains a priority for me,” Chairman McKeon said. “It is an honor to help the community in any way I can.”

On December 1-2, the McKeon Group participated in the Reagan National Defense Forum. This annual forum includes a number of panels and presentations with the nation’s top leaders within the defense industry. Chairman McKeon was recognized for his service within the defense realm.

“It was a successful and busy weekend for our firm,” the Chairman concluded. “We look forward to working with those we met with at the forum this year.”

The McKeon Group: An Intern’s Perspective

As an intern at the McKeon Group, I had the opportunity to be directly involved in government affairs while gaining insight into a variety of issues. With a diverse client base ranging from education non-profits to cybersecurity companies, I had valuable exposure to new project areas and research policy that is currently making its way through Capitol Hill.

At the McKeon Group, working as an intern does not limit your access to significant and rewarding work. On my first day, my supervisors and peers asked about my interests and inquired about my career goals. Regardless of my status as an intern, I was welcomed to be a part of client calls, internal meetings, and industry events around the city. Similarly, working with specialists from the private sector and policy experts from Capitol Hill, I soon discovered the deep breadth of knowledge available just around the office corner. For example, the leaders of the McKeon’s education practice are familiar with general education issues but also have specific experience and knowledge in policy areas like juvenile justice, family learning, and special education.

The fast-paced legislative agenda and whirlwind policy shifts that developed over the course of the fall overlapped with client matters. I developed subject area expertise in the field of education, learning about the state and federal levels of public education. I cultivated a deep knowledge of prominent federal education and family-related bills and programs, such as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA); the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); the federal budget; and the appropriations process.

During this time, one of the most valuable experiences was building a strong relationship with my supervisor and mentor, Laura Kaloi. Laura emphasized that “McKeon’s policy internship is specifically focused on providing real-world experience as a member of our team. We mentor and support our interns and strive to offer a meaningful professional opportunity in the midst of what’s happening in and around the U.S. Congress.” By working with Laura, I could observe and learn from her in areas ranging from building client relations to developing strategic policy plans. And essential to the internship experience, Laura’s open-door policy helped me feel comfortable and she always welcomed my questions.

My time as an intern with the McKeon Group yielded a substantial work portfolio, many incredible relationships, and a deeper knowledge of government relations. This internship was an irreplaceable experience that has cemented a strong foundation in public policy and government affairs. I am fortunate that I will be joining the education practice full-time in December and I am excited to continue my journey with the McKeon Group. Any candidate who is detail oriented, consistent, and eager to learn would succeed as an intern at this firm.

From Theory to Practice: Reflections from a Recent MPA Graduate

“To me, the budget process should be based on efficiency rather than politics; the financial future of our nation is too severe an issue to be hindered by the pull and tug of partisan politics.”

Merely a few months ago, I typed these words as I wrote a paper on the federal budget process for my Budgeting and Financial Management course. The class was not one I ever would have chosen, considering my deep aversion to math, instead, it was a graduation requirement for my Masters in Public Administration Program. As the semester wore on, I learned about the federal budget process: how it is effective in nature as it establishes a constitutional balance in budgetary actions, and, how it can be ineffective, due to timing and funding delays, which can decrease the speed and quality of services delivered. I learned a lot, but I ended the semester with an ultimately limited “textbook” understanding of the federal budget process. Something was missing; I was not connecting theory to practice.

Fast forward to October 4th. I was working as a Legislative Associate for The McKeon Group and on the hill for a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing. I sat on the edge of my seat in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, waiting to learn the fate of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which had expired on September 30th. The room was packed, filled with people wondering what would happen to the 9 million children who receive low-cost health coverage through CHIP.

Chairman Hatch gaveled the meeting into order, took a voice vote, and announced a bipartisan consensus to reauthorize the program. Audible sighs of relief were heard around the room, as other members vocalized the importance of the bipartisan accord on this vote, and most importantly, the need for CHIP reauthorization. Ranking Member Wyden commended the committee, stating there were several senators on both sides of the aisle who wanted to offer controversial amendments but withdrew them to ensure a strong bipartisan vote, so children would not be at risk.

Sitting there in the hearing I had my “aha moment,” so to speak. Months ago, I struggled to make the real-world connection between the budget process and its “real world” implications. Yet, in that moment, it became clear to me. Yes, I was at this meeting for a client, but, I realized that I personally understood the importance of reauthorization. I, like many, was concerned about the fate of the 9 million children who would be stripped of coverage if partisan gridlock hindered reauthorization. The words from my class paper, “efficiency rather than politics,” rung true more than ever as I exited the hearing. To me, that day was a prime example of Members of Congress doing their job, correctly, and efficiently. Amid the political impasse over repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Action, this one hearing shone out to me, as a light in the darkness, a beacon of hope for the future of politics.