“Veteran health policy lobbyists Linda Tarplin, Raissa Downs, and Jennifer Young know how they’ll be ringing in the new year—by launching their new consulting firm, Tarplin, Downs and Young. Tarplin and Downs are leaving big-name lobbying shops—OB-C Group and Barbour Griffith & Rogers, respectively—for their venture.
Young is coming from the Health and Human Services Department, where she headed the legislative-affairs shop after serving as senior counselor to Secretary Mike Leavitt. Young joined the Bush administration following stints with two of Congress’s top health policy panels, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.
Tarplin and Downs may be old K Street hands, but both have lengthy executive branch and congressional résumés as well. Tarplin worked on Senate legislative affairs, and was the White House health care liaison to Congress under President George H.W. Bush. She also held top policy posts at HHS for the Reagan and Bush I administrations. And she has ties to the Ways and Means Committee, having overseen health policy issues for former Rep. Bill Frenzel, R-Minn., who served on the panel. Downs’s nearly 10 years of HHS and congressional experience includes a tour of duty heading legislative affairs for HHS and a tenure as a top aide to Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., now chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee.
Tarplin said that the firm intends ‘to become bipartisan over time.’ And that it may eventually branch out into other issues. But she expects the trio to have plenty of work, both regulatory and legislative, in their area of expertise. ‘Health care has become such a large and complicated issue, and has demanded, over time, that you be more specialized and be able to offer clients more than one thing,’ she noted—making Tarplin, Downs and Young just what the doctor ordered.”