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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lobbyist for Higher Education

Higher education is a special interest like any other.  Inside Higher Ed profiles one of its lobbyists:
In an era when most people in this town have been in their jobs for about 20 minutes, it doesn't seem that far off when Becky Timmons jokes in an interview about having started her higher education lobbying career "in the Pleistocene era."
The occasion of the interview, after all, is the announcement late Tuesday that Timmons will retire from the American Council on Education this month after 40 years. ("Forty years -- that's completely ridiculous, isn't it?" she says.)
She spent many of those years as the lead federal lobbyist for the main association of colleges and universities, a job in which she encountered no shortage of critics attacking higher education, endless lines in Congressional hallways awaiting hearings, and snooty young Hill aides.
And while she can shoot a mean glare when she's unhappy, the prevailing image for just about anyone who worked with her all those years is of her throaty laugh -- yes, gallows humor sometimes, but most often humor of some sort. (Yes, some of it unprintable.)