Lara Keel

Present Position:

Lara Laneri Keel has twenty years of experience in and around the Texas Capitol.  Mrs. Keel has been with the Texas Lobby Group since its inception in 2002, representing interests of clients before state legislators, regulators, and Texas policy makers. (78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83 and 84th Sessions).  Recently Mrs. Keel was named the top female hired gun lobbyist in Capitol Inside’s Texas Lobby Power Rankings Biennial report in their last three rankings.

Immediate Past Positions:

Following her career in the Texas Senate (75th and 76th Session) Lara was a Lobbyist for the state’s largest business group, The Texas Association of Business and Chambers of Commerce (TABCC).  Experience includes lobbying the Texas Legislature, Executive and State agencies, as well as the U.S. Congress on critical employer issues.   As a Government Affairs Director, Lara directed a three-tiered campaign involving grassroots, communications and coalition building, as well as legislative activity and lobbying. She is still active in the Association as a current board member.

Education:

B.A. in Political Science, Minor in History – Texas Tech University (1993)

Kappa Kappa Gamma, Delta Psi Chapter

Civic Activities, Achievements, & Awards:

  • Highest Ranked Female - “Top Hired Gun Lobbyist” List, Texas Lobby Power Rankings by Capitol Inside (2011, 2013 & 2015)
  • President -  Red State Women (2014)
  • Treasurer – Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute (2012-present)
  • Dress For Success Board Member (2012-present)
  • Women’s Fund for Central Texas- Grants Committee (2012, 2013)
  • Austin Business Journal Women of Power/Influence Winner (2010)
  • Texas Women for the Arts (2010-present)
  •  “Top Hired Gun Lobbyist” List - Texas Lobby Power Rankings by Capitol Inside (2009)
  •  “Rising Lobby Star to Watch” - Texas Lobby Power Rankings by Capitol Inside (2006, 2007)
  • Executive Committee Member – Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute (2008-present)
  • Board Member - Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute (2007-present)
  • Board  Member - Texas Association of Business (2003- 2007) (2009-present)
  • Texas Women’s Alliance (2005)
  • Executive Committee Member - Texas Association of Business (2004)
  • Power Pipeline, A Leadership Texas Program (1999)
  • Founder and Volunteer  - Grinch’s Gala (1994 – 2005)

Policy Initiatives and Agency Workgroups:

"Texas State Planning Grant” - Texas Department of Insurance.  (2002).

 "Making an Impact:  Reforming Health Care Services in Texas” - Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute, LIFT Task Force on Health and Human Services. (1999 and 2001).

"E-Texas Commission Report” - State Comptrollers Office.  (2000).

Long Term Care Planning Committee - Department of Human Services. (1999).

Newspaper and Magazine References:

"Simmons will have a hall-of-fame level lobbyist as a mentor in her new profession as a new member of Mike Toomey's team at the Texas Lobby Group. Simmons' affiliation with the firm that Bill Messer and Toomey co-founded also will give her a chance to learn the ropes of the trade from Lara Keel, a highly-respected lobbyist who's one of the group's charter members and doubling as the Red State Women's president as well."

Capitol Inside, February 2015. 

"Red State’s president is Lara Keel, a long-time lobby partner of Mike Toomey in one of Austin’s premier political-influence firms."

Texas Tribune, March 2014

"President of Red State Women, Lara Keel, is Texas’ most powerful female lobbyist. Starting her career as a staffer in the legislature, Keel now represents the interests of state regulators and law makers."

Guardian Liberty Voice, March 2014

“The rankings in 2011 reflect the growing presence and clout that a newer generation of public affairs professionals have now at the Capitol as the proverbial torch is passed to them. Keel is a prime example - having been elevated to partnership status with lobby titans Bill Messer and Toomey in the star-studded group they lead at the same time she's become the go-to lobbyist for Republican women legislators at the Capitol where there are twice as many of them as there were two years ago. Keel - as a result - has vaulted into the top 20 on the hired gun lobby list after being ranked a rising star lobbyists just four years ago.”

Capitol Inside, January 2011. 

When the Texas Legislature's new Republican members arrived in Austin for their first session this month, one of the first things they learned was where to find Mike Toomey and Lara Keel. As two of the three partners at the city's most high-powered lobby shop when it comes to Republican ties, Toomey and Keel have taken most if not all of the GOP's 31 freshmen lawmakers under their wings as informal advisors on the art of passing legislation, protocol and other fundamental elements of the legislative process in Texas. In an arena that's governed by a maze of complex and serpentine operating procedures and lined with more political landmines than opportunities for early success, the wisdom and friendship that the two lobby mentors are imparting will be highly valuable as the first-term Republicans attempt to navigate their way through their legislative debuts without fouling up.”

Capitol Inside, January 2011.

“I can think of no one who is a greater woman of power and influence in representing businesses before the Legislature and agencies in Texas than Lara Keel.  She is a standout in her field.”

Austin Business Journal, Nancy Ebe, President, Ebe & Associates, July 30, 2010.

“And its lobbyists are among the most influential…... Lara Laneri Keel, another Republican heavyweight who previously lobbied for the Texas Association of Business and serves on the board of the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute”.

Dallas Morning News, January 7, 2009.

Some of the lobby's brightest young members like …… Lara Keel ….. Have graduated from the rising stars list in 2007”.   

Capitol Inside, January 23, 2009.

Keel, who's married to State Auditor John Keel, is surrounded by stars as a charter member of the Texas Capitol Group…….”

Capitol Inside, January 23, 2009.

“Lara Laneri Keel – a former Texas Association of Business governmental affairs manager who was an aide to Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief when he was a state senator- has been part of the group led by Mike Toomey and Bill Messer before she joined them in the new Texas Capitol Group.  Keel’s husband is State Auditor John Keel – the former executive director of the Legislative Budget Board”.

Capitol Inside, January 31, 2006.

 “A longtime politico in her own right, who, when she married, took one of the most recognizable names in Austin politics.”

Pete Slover and Robert Garrett, Dallas Morning News, May 5, 2005. 

“In September 2000, lobbyist Lara Laneri Keel married John Keel, director of the Legislative Budget Board – the chief numbers czar for state budget writers…. Then she joined a powerhouse lobby firm, the Texas Lobby Group.”

Pete Slover and Robert Garrett, Dallas Morning News, May 5, 2005.