OGR adds two new Republican voices

Ogilvy Government Relations has added two new Republican voices to its roster of advocates with the hiring of Con Lass and Dee Buchanan. Lass comes from the American Petroleum Institute, where for the past two years he has served as senior director of public relations. Buchanan has been the chief of staff and top policy adviser to Jeb Hensarling of Texas, the House Republican Conference chairman and Financial Services Committee vice chairman, since 2010. Lass left his family’s sugar-beet and malt-barley farm in Worland, Wyo., to come to Washington. He was exposed to politics through his mother, who was the first woman to be elected commissioner in his home county. An internship while Lass was a student at the University of Wyoming with then-Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., confirmed his passion. “It was a wonderful experience for a small Wyoming farm boy,” he says. He returned to D.C. after college to become a legislative assistant, with a focus on agriculture, for then Sen. Craig Thomas, R-Wyo. Lass has returned to Wyoming throughout his career, including serving a stint as director of the Office of Federal Land Policy for then-Gov. Jim Geringer. Agriculture was his initial focus, but Lass has developed an extensive background in energy. He hopes to apply his experience to expand the lobbying firm’s client base in the field. The 42-year-old says that the transition to the firm was a natural progression and that he’s excited to tackle other issues beyond energy. At API, Lass was a client of Ogilvy’s. “I got to witness firsthand the level of service and the quality work that this firm provides,” he says. His résumé includes positions as vice president of legislative affairs for the Electric Power Supply Association, director of government affairs for mining company Rio Tinto, and chief of staff at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

It was Buchanan’s constitutional law professor at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, who determined he would work in Washington. “He always pushed me to explain why I believed what I believed,” Buchanan says. He came to D.C. to learn more about politics and joined the office of then-Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas. He served as a staff assistant, then as deputy director of communications. The Lubbock, Texas, native returned to his home state in 2002 to run Hensarling’s first congressional race. Hensarling brought Buchanan to Washington to become deputy chief of staff and legislative director. In 2005, Buchanan was named chief of staff for the member’s personal office, a position he held for five years. Buchanan, 36, didn’t leave the Hill for the private sector because of the lure of fewer work hours. He says he hopes to keep busy in his new position. “Any project I take on, I try to work as hard as I can,” he says.