Wilbert J. “Billy” Tauzin
From the small rural Cajun community of Chackbay, Louisiana, Billy Tauzin began his long 34-year career in elective office with a resounding first primary victory, winning his first four-year term in the Louisiana State House of Representatives. There he was recognized as one of “Louisiana’s Ten Best Legislators”, quickly rising to the position of Chief House (Majority) Leader and Chairman of the important Natural Resources Committee, with jurisdiction over both Energy and Environment.
In 1980, Congressman Tauzin sought and won election to the U.S. Congress seat being vacated by newly elected Governor David Treen, and there began a 25 year career representing Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District, comprising the Cajun Parishes located between New Orleans, Lafayette and Baton Rouge. There he held Chairmanships of the U.S. Coast Guard Committee (where he conducted the hearings on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, and authored the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 legislation); the Panama Canal Committee (where he helped manage the mandated transfer of the canal to the people of Panama); the Telecommunications Committee (where he authored the law providing for Satellite Television Competition, co-authored the historic broadcast deregulation and the laws managing the transition from analog to digital television and cellular telephone and internet broadband service provisions); and eventually the Chairmanship of the powerful, the oldest and most jurisdictionally diverse Committee of Congress, the Energy and Commerce Committee. There, Chairman Tauzin conducted the historic Enron hearings and others like it, the Ford Firestone hearings, which produced the first comprehensive reform of highway safety laws since the 1930’s, and floor managed the passage of the historic Medical Part D reform to Medicare, providing seniors with coverage for their vital medications.
Congressman Tauzin left his mark on natural gas, airline, trucking, and electricity deregulation, on the nation’s Clean Air Act, on Superfund, the historic Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996, on biomedical research, marine and natural resource acts, pipeline safety, finance and consumer protection laws. He was called, “knowledgeable and eloquent” by the Almanac of American Politics, and, “One of the House’s savviest members” by the National Journal magazine. Later, as PhRMA’s President and CEO, the Washingtonian magazine named him as one of the ten most powerful people in Washington, D.C.
Congressman Tauzin holds some extraordinary distinctions: the first and only U.S. Congressman in American history to hold leadership positions in both major political parties, serving fifteen years as a Conservative Democrat (without ever being challenged for re-election by a Republican), and then ten years as a Republican (never once challenged by a Democrat); the only member to ever change parties and receive no opposition from either party in that re-election campaign; the author of the only two major pieces of legislation to become law over a Presidential veto in over four decades (the Satellite Viewers Rights provisions—vetoed by President George H.W. Bush and the Security Litigation Reform Act—vetoed by President Clinton), and the longest serving Congressman for Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District in U.S. history.
In 2004, as he was being heavily courted to retire and assume the position of President of the Motion Picture Association to replace Jack Valenti, Congressman Tauzin was diagnosed with a rare form of intestinal cancer. Forced to leave Congress and his Chairmanship behind, he began a yearlong battle for his life. Given less than a 1% chance of survival, the Congressman not only overcame those great odds, but in January 2005 assumed the Presidency of PhRMA, the trade association representing the drug discoverers who had just saved his life. Over the next 5 ½ years, Congressman Tauzin helped shepherd the industry through the turbulent years of health care reform and left the important legacy of a new Patients’ Assistance Program, now providing over six million needy Americans with free medicines they could not otherwise afford, and a new program to help close the so-called “hole in the doughnut” of Medicare coverage.
Upon retirement from PhRMA in 2010, Congressman Tauzin and his son Thomas formed the new government relations firm of Tauzin Consultants, and personally affiliated with the national firm of Alston + Bird as “Special Legislative Counsel”.
Some other interesting facts about Congressman Tauzin:
- Starred on stage as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, as Applegate (the devil) in Damn Yankees, and numerous other amateur productions.
- Worked in home heating and air conditioning and in electrical wiring.
- Learned construction with his father and re-roofed, air conditioned and built an upstairs bedroom in his father’s house, which was converted from his grandfather’s dance hall.
- Worked as a field hand, and later as a pipe-fitter helping in a shipyard.
- Earned a B.A. from Nicholls State University, where he served as student body President, and won a state literary award with a prize-winning short story and published poetry.
- Like King George VI of England, suffered from a severe speech impediment that was corrected by a gifted speech therapist.
- Earned his J.D. from L.S.U. law school along with U.S. Senator John Breaux. Congressman Tauzin is Godfather to Breaux’s son Bill as Senator Breaux is Godfather to Congressman Tauzin’s son, Bill.
- Chartered a Louisiana State Savings and Loan Association and Chaired its first Board.
- Co-founded the famous Congressional Democratic Blue Dogs and served as one of its first Co-Chairs.
- Co-authored a Cajun cookbook, entitled Cook + Tell, and cooked on Martha Stewart’s television show (and later led the Congressional investigation of her stock involvement in ImClone).
- Gave a young James Carville his first political election victory in the Congressman’s first campaign in 1980, where James served as a young intern.
- Conducted in 1997 and 1998 a 40-city national debate tour with Congressman Dick Armey, entitled the Armey-Tauzin Scrap the Code Tour, arguing for a National Sales Tax to replace the U.S. Income tax.
- With four other colleagues, dumped the U.S. Income Tax Code off the deck of the tea ship, “Beaver II’ into Boston Harbor on April 15, 1997.
- In 1998, authored a book entitled, The National Sales Tax, calling for the repeal of the U.S. Income Tax Code and calling upon U.S. citizens to begin forming “Tea Parties” across America to wrest power away from Washington, D.C. and return freedom and liberty to the people of our country.
Congressman Tauzin also now serves on the Boards of Directors of Entergy Corporation and on LHC Group, a multi-state provider of home health and hospice care, where he is Lead Independent Director.
Over the years Congressman Tauzin has been honored by such diverse groups as the Chamber of Commerce, Farm Bureau, National Federation of Independent Business, B’nai B’rith, Concord Coalition, Business Software Alliance, National Association of Manufacturers, Christian Coalition, Boy Scouts of America, National Association of Broadcasters, the 3rd Congressional District Black Caucus, and many more.
Thomas N. Tauzin
Thomas N. Tauzin is a Partner at Tauzin Consultants, where he focuses on health care, information technology (IT), finance, telecommunications, energy, and transportation affairs. He co-founded the firm with his father, former Congressman Billy J. Tauzin. Tauzin Consultants is a government relations, advocacy and business development consulting firm that capitalizes on Congressman Tauzin’s broad and deep experience over a nearly 40-year career.
Prior to starting Tauzin Consultants, Thomas was a Vice President at Capitol Hill Consulting Group, another government relations firm in Washington, DC. Here, he honed his expertise on a number of critical issues including online security and access and health information technology. Before joining Capitol Hill Consulting Group, Thomas served as Senior Vice President of Business Development for iMedicor, a physician and patient portal focusing on improving health information exchange by providing free secure messaging amongst members.
Previously, Thomas worked for Clear Channel Entertainment UK (now Live Nation UK) as International Director of Instant Live where he co-designed a modular studio for mixing, recording, duplicating and selling live albums and DVDs in real-time and on the same night of a concert. Thomas co-produced the albums and DVDs and was also involved in negotiating contracts with artists and labels and the financial accounting of each project.
Thomas’s first full-time job was an equity trader with Instinet Corporation. After acquiring his Series 7, 55 and 63 licenses, Thomas was assigned to the buy-side working order desk where he traded a full range of equities on behalf of clients around the globe. He later held positions with Instinet on the sell-side as an account manager and directing sales from Delaware to Florida to Texas.
Thomas earned his B.A. in Finance from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 2000.
John Blount is a Partner at Tauzin Consultants, with expertise in the areas of financial services, aviation, defense, and health care. Mr. Blount’s clients have benefited over the years from his tenure on Capitol Hill where he is currently considered one of the leading consultants in Washington.
Mr. Blount served as a senior aide to three Members of the House of Representatives. He later joined the world’s largest trade association, the National Association of Realtors (NAR), where he served as the organization’s top Capitol Hill lobbyist. During that time, Mr. Blount worked extensively with the House Ways and Means Committee, the House Financial Institutions Committee, Energy and Commerce Committee, the Senate Finance and Banking Committees and had full authority over the organization’s efforts within the Executive Branch. In addition, he was responsible for maintaining the 800,000 member grassroots organization and administered a $4 million PAC.
After a decade with the NAR, Mr. Blount headed the lobbying efforts for the Association of Private Pension and Welfare Plans where he concentrated on health care and pension issues of interest to the organization’s Fortune 500 members. Mr. Blount joined Tauzin Consultants after serving as the Senior Vice President of the Capitol Hill Consulting Group and has since continued representing a diverse client base that includes the Committee to Save Independent HME Suppliers, Debt Buyers Association, Industrial Safety Training Council, SCAN Health Plan, The Bituminous Coal Operations Association, Coalition Against Online Banking Fraud, Global Security Management, and many others. Mr. Blount currently resides in Alexandria with his wife, Betty.
Liz Williams has more than 16 years of fundraising and advocacy experience on Capitol Hill crafting integrated government relations and communications strategies aimed at shaping public policy. Ms. Williams started her career at the National Republican Congressional Committee raising funds for Members of Congress and Congressional candidates and has a strong, continued network of relationships at the NRCC and NRSC. She has also worked in the non-profit and private sector as a House Liaison at The Heritage Foundation and as the founding PAC Director at Van Scoyoc Associates, Inc. Liz served as a Federal Liaison at the National Rifle Association for over 5 years with the responsibility for advocating NRA’s federal interests to Members of the US Senate and House of Representatives. Most recently, Liz founded Williams & Company where she serviced clients across the legislative spectrum relating to, healthcare, federal appropriations, Department of Defense issues and Interior matters involving sportsmen issues.
Liz gives back to the Capitol Hill community where she serves on the board of the Capitol Hill Club and is the past president of the Washington, DC Chapter of Safari Club International and serves on the board of the Government Affairs and SCI-PAC committee’s at the National level.
Liz’s move to Tauzin Consultants, where she will be a Principal in the firm, allows her to use their vast strategic network to further her client’s objectives.
Ms. Williams received her B.A. in Marking-Advertising from the University of Mississippi and currently lives in Arlington, Virginia.
Brendan O’Connor is the Account Manager for Tauzin Consultants LLC, a government-relations, advocacy and business development consulting firm located in Washington, DC. Brendan helped former Congressman Billy J. Tauzin and his son Thomas Tauzin start the firm in January 2011. In his current position, Brendan manages the day-to-day operations of the office, handles all HR matters, and conducts legislative research and analysis for clients.
Before joining Tauzin Consultants, Brendan worked for former Congressman Bill K. Brewster’s government-relations firm, Capitol Hill Consulting Group. Brendan, a North Carolina native, earned his B.A. in International Studies from Elon University in 2009.
Chris Kapsch is the Staff Assistant at Tauzin Consultants. Chris joined the firm in April of 2012. In his role, Chris serves as the assistant to Congressman Tauzin and handles all of the firm’s administrative duties.
Prior to joining the firm, Chris spent three years in the financial services industry, working for John Hancock and Credit Suisse. Chris grew up in North Carolina and received a B.S. in Business Administration, with a concentration in Economics, from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2009.
Theodore L. Jones
Theodore (Ted) L. Jones received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration; Special Studies Accounting and Economics, from Northwestern State University in 1960. Following his years as an undergraduate, he enrolled at the University of Mississippi, earning his Juris Doctorate in 1963. Thereafter, he received his Master of Laws and Taxation from Georgetown University in 1970.
Ted has served in both the private and public sectors during his distinguished political and legal career. He has forty-seven years of experience as an attorney with his private law and legislative practice group, focusing on an array of issues including taxation, estate planning, communications, insurance health, oil and gas, rate regulations, federal and state campaign election law, corporate, and financial transactions.
Ted’s prominent political career has seen him serve several renowned Federal and Louisiana lawmakers; Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative Speedy O. Long; Counsel to Governor John D. McKeithen; Counsel to Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey Campaign; Assistant Collector of Revenue in Louisiana; Special Counsel to the Louisiana Public Service Commission, the Louisiana Tax Commission, the Mayor-President East Baton Rouge Parish, and the Parish Tax Assessor; and Special Counsel to Governor Edwin W. Edwards (Federal Affairs, Wetlands and Transportation). Additionally, Ted was the Chief Lobbyist for the State of Louisiana for eight years.
Ted has received Honorary Doctorates of Humanity from both Northwestern and Nicholls State Universities. In 2007, Ted was inducted into the famed Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame, a tribute to his illustrious service to the state of Louisiana. He was also inducted into the Long Purple Line of Distinguished Alumni at Northwestern State University. Ted currently serves as Director of the Northwestern State University Foundation.