Tony is a government relations expert and litigator with 25 years-experience in grassroots organizing, politics, state lobbying and the courtroom. Tony has spent the past decade plus defending vapor companies and companies in other heavily regulated industries against government over-reach. Tony brings his unique set of lobbying, legal, political and governmental experience to developing the strategic solutions that will enable vapor companies to succeed in a regulated world.
Tony left the international law firm of Greenberg Traurig, LLP to launch his own governmental affairs consulting firm called Strategic Government Solutions, Inc. (SGS) in 2010. After all his clients transferred to SGS, the firm continued to grow a robust practice representing companies, trade associations and industry groups on all matters related to state legislation and regulations in Illinois.
Through SGS, Tony has developed and implemented strategies for companies facing simultaneous multi-state legislative challenges in the vapor industry and in the tobacco industry. For example, in 2011, confronted with a bill in Illinois that would have banned a client’s tobacco product by redefining it as drug paraphernalia, Tony crafted a unique strategy to stop the bill, only to find it simultaneously filed in dozens of states around the country. Tony was hired to recruit, train, and lead a team of lobbyists in 28 states to defend the product and his team defeated the bill in every state.
More recently, Tony went to bat for a national vapor company. Once again, Tony’s strategy and team helped defeat bills hostile to the industry in multiple states, including California State Senator Corbett’s (and the Sen. Leno’s) bills that would have defined e-cigarettes as tobacco products for all purposes and that would have banned e-cigarette advertising. Tony also played a large role in drafting comments on the FDA’s Deeming Regulation on e-cigarettes, preparing testimony and public statements, as well as hiring and educating his client’s federal lobbyists on e-cigarette issues and meeting with Members of Congress. Tony also has generously volunteered his time with SFATA, drafting SFATA’s model legislation for minor bans, providing insight and analysis on SFATA’s core issues, providing strategic guidance on state initiatives, and launching SFATA’s Illinois Chapter.
Tony was instrumental in the founding of the Vapor Technology Association and worked tirelessly to ensure that it was set up to promote a sophisticated governmental affairs and public affairs strategy to protect and defend the vapor industry. Tony now serves as the VTA’s National Legislative Director and is responsible for implementing all aspects of the organization’s mission and strategy as directed by the VTA’s Board of Directors.
Tony lives near Chicago with his wife, a former Cook County prosecutor, and their two sons and daughter. Tony earned his B.A. in Political Science from Carleton College in 1988, and his J.D. with distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1994.