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Meet Dan Delaney of Delaney Policy Group in Beacon Hill

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dan Delaney.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in Albany, NY, which kind of felt like Boston on training wheels. It’s a very political town and politics plays a huge role in the economic, cultural and civic life there. It’s a tough town to strike out on your own and do something innovative and new.  However, to flourish, I needed to go somewhere more open to innovation.

I came to Boston twenty years ago to pursue a PhD in political science.  I quickly found out that the politics that I was studying didn’t seem to reflect the political realities that I saw affecting the lives of people around me. I also found out pretty quickly that I enjoyed practicing politics much more than studying it.

I landed a series of policy positions in Massachusetts state government and local non-profits. Working on issues like health care reform, regulating pharmaceutical and biotech companies, and community and economic development, gave me the opportunity to have the impact that I felt was missing while studying at Harvard.

A little over five years ago, I decided to leave government service and open my own government affairs and policy consulting firm, the Delaney Policy Group. I love the challenge of building my own business from the ground up, and the creativity and flexibility you can have when you run your own shop.

Has it been a smooth road?
There have definitely been some ups and downs over the course of my career in Boston. It was hard to change tracks from pursuing an academic career. When my peers were hitting their stride professionally, I was back at the bottom rung in an entry level position in the State House. I was lucky to have good mentors and opportunities to work on issues that gave me expertise that I could use when I started my firm.

Also, work in politics is by its nature political. The “office politics” that is the part of work that most people can’t stand was 75% of my job. I remember a specific time when I was working on a very contentious policy issue with powerful advocates on both sides. We were making great progress but in the eleventh hour, the political decision makers at the time decided that the “right side” yesterday was the “wrong side” today. As the champion of wrong side, I was dealt a serious professional setback that took over a year to overcome.

Each struggle and setback made me develop new skills and strategies, though. I’ve been able to use those strategies to better serve my clients.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Delaney Policy Group – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
The Delaney Policy Group is a government affairs and policy consulting firm that specializes in lobbying state and local governments on behalf of our clients.

We specialize in policy areas where the issues are often complex, contentious and innovative. A large proportion of our client base is involved in the health care and public health arena. We have a specialized sub-practice in marijuana policy. In Massachusetts, we are the preeminent medical marijuana lobbying firm.

As a company, I’m most proud of how the Delaney Policy Group is able to effectively manage the intersection between complex policy and complicated politics. There are firms that specialize in political relationships. There are consultancies that develop policy positions and analyses. There aren’t many that can effectively handle the interaction between the two. As we move more and more towards an innovation centered economy, handling both will be essential.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
What I love best about Boston is that the people who live here are personally and passionately invested in the city. Whether you’re a new arrival or a born and bred Bostonian, there’s something about the energy here that makes you want to dig in and be a part of it.

What I like least about the city is the way that some old-fashioned ideas keep Boston from thriving the way it could. We have great cultural and intellectual vibrancy but we’ve got bars and restaurants that close too early, restrictions on live music and happy hours that are too restrictive and a hesitancy towards having fun that I hope is changing.

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