Henry Waxman joins son's PR firm in Washington

henry-waxman-politico.jpgRetired congressman Henry Waxman had been shipping himself around to the big, lucrative K Street law firms without finding a good fit. So he is telling supporters that he has taken a post as chairman of Waxman Strategies, his son Michael's Washington communications firm. He also will affiliate with UCLA, his alma mater, but continue living in Bethesda, Maryland.

From Waxman's email to a supporter:

I’m excited to share that I have joined as Chairman of Waxman Strategies, a public affairs and strategic communications firm founded by my son, Michael.

As I start this next chapter, I look forward to helping a select group of clients navigate the legislative and regulatory process, communicate effectively and get results. Frankly, I feel like this is an extension of what I did while in office.

In addition to joining the firm, I’ve agreed to serve as a Regent Professor for UCLA and as an advisor and lecturer at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. I’ve also started to go on the speaking circuit and anticipate joining several boards.

I hope this email finds you well and that our paths cross soon.

The National Law Journal has a story today that says Waxman circulated a business plan to Washington law firms offering his services as an advisor, but after more than a month of looking did not find a firm he felt comfortable with. "It got to be more of a morass than I had wanted to deal with,” said the Democrat who famously did battle with Big Tobacco, Big Coal and Big Pharma, among other industries.

“I wouldn’t want a firm to represent something I didn’t agree with,” Waxman said. “There are many special interest groups that I often found myself opposed to in my congressional career.”

Lobbyists at large firms said they’d known for weeks that Waxman was on the job market but were unsure how he could fit into a corporate-defense environment. Former Rep. Jim Walsh, now a leader within K&L Gates’ lobbying department, called his former colleague “a prickly guy for everybody.”

Waxman said late last week that he decided on a different, more varied professional approach to his retirement. His son, Michael, runs a four-person D.C. public relations company called Waxman Strategies; the former congressman will join the group as chairman. He will help focus it on political and communication strategy, he said.

He’s interested in public speaking and joining boards, and is finalizing plans to teach at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and at the University of California, Los Angeles, his alma mater. He’ll live mostly in Bethesda, Maryland. His legal license, with the State Bar of California, has been inactive since 1980.

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