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Lobbying the Wyoming Legislature requires a delicate balance of straight talk and gentle persuasion, according to those who do it best.

Lobbyists who bend the truth are likely to lose their most valuable asset: credibility. But a lobbyist who can't influence legislation in favor of his or her employer isn't likely to be around the State Capitol for long.

Some of the most effective in the field have many years of experience and deep roots in the state.

Here are 10 of the most well-regarded lobbyists working in Cheyenne today. The list was compiled with input from lawmakers, lobbyists and members of the news media.

Bob Tarantola

* Lobbies for: Rocky Mountain Power

* Years as a lobbyist: 22

* Background: Tarantola's family has been in Cheyenne for a century. He is a University of Wyoming graduate and worked in the UW Community Services office from 1973 to 1978. He also directed public relations for the Wyoming Energy Extension Service at UW.

He joined Pacific Power, now Rocky Mountain Power, in 1979 as a spokesman and later moved to government affairs. He now represents Rocky Mountain Power as a private consultant and lobbyist.

* Other information: Tarantola is credited with forming the Wyoming Capitol Club, a membership organization for lobbyists that now includes 240 members.

Dan Sullivan

* Lobbies for: AT&T, BP America, Altria Corporate Services, Kraft Foods North America, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Shell Exploration Oil Co., Verizon Wireless, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Wyoming, the Credit Union Association of Wyoming, UST, Marathon Oil Co., Plainfield Asset Management, Key Train and The Wyoming Group.

* Years as a lobbyist: 17

* Background: He is a Douglas native, University of Wyoming graduate and brother of former Gov. Mike Sullivan. He's also a former two-term state senator.

Rick Robitaille

* Lobbies for: Anadarko Petroleum Corp.

* Years as a lobbyist: 31

* Background: After earning a degree in government and political science at the University of Texas, Robitaille entered a career in the oil and gas industry and moved to Casper in the late 1970s.

* Other information: As a lobbyist, Robitaille helped craft the formula to determine valuation of minerals in Wyoming in the 1980s and 1990s.

Lynn Birleffi

* Lobbies for: Wyoming Associations and Government Affairs Network, Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association, Wyoming Merchants Association, AHIP, Wyoming Travel Industry Coalition and the Wyoming Assisted Living Coalition.

* Years as a lobbyist: 17

* Background: A Wyoming native and UW graduate, she served four years in the Legislature in the late 1980s. She spent many years working the hotel industry, which she said helps her represent clients in the travel, lodging and restaurant industries.

Greg Schaefer

* Lobbies for: Arch Coal.

* Years as a lobbyist: 16

* Background: A native of Riverton, Schaefer attended Central Wyoming College and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering from the University of Wyoming. He also served on the UW Board of Trustees as a Gov. Jim Geringer appointment.

* Other information: Schaefer said his background in engineering helps him explain technical information about the mining industry to lawmakers.

Bill Thomson

* Lobbies for: Dray, Thomson & Dyekman PC, AFLAC, Anheuser Busch Companies, BNSF Railway Co., Chevron Corp., Cigar Association of America, Coca-Cola Bottling of Northern Wyoming, Coca-Cola Co., General Motors Corp. and Kennedy Western University.

* Years as a lobbyist: 25

* Background: He has deep ties to state politics. His mother, Thyra Thomson, served as Wyoming secretary of state from 1963 to 1987. His father, Keith Thomson, served in the Legislature and in Congress. Keith Thomson was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1960, but he died before his term commenced in 1961. Bill Thomson worked as a congressional staffer in Washington, D.C., and served as attorney for the Wyoming Republican Party. He has a legal practice in Cheyenne.

Marion Loomis

* Lobbies for: Wyoming Mining Association

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* Years as a lobbyist: 27

* Background: A Wyoming native, he grew up south of Sheridan and graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in economic development geology.

* Other information: He considers his knowledge of geology and his lifelong ties to the state as key assets in his job.

"The fact that you grew up in this state and you went to school here gives you things you can talk about. When people want to talk about education or the university, you were there," he said.

Jim Magagna

* Lobbies for: Wyoming Stock Growers Association

* Years as a lobbyist: 9

* Background: A Rock Springs native, Magagna serves as executive Vice President of the Stock Growers Association. He is a past president of the Wyoming Wool Growers Association and state land director. His political background in Wyoming extends back decades. He ran unsuccessfully as a Republican candidate for the state Legislature in Sweetwater County in the 1970s. He also ran against U.S. Rep. Barbara Cubin in the Republican primary in 1994.

Tom Jones

* Lobbies for: Executive & Legislative Services, National Federation of Independent Business, Wyoming Health Care Association, Wyoming Wholesalers and Coin Operators Association, Wyoming Association of Financial Service Centers, Far West Equipment Dealers Association, United States Team Penning Association, Wyoming Ethanol and Wyoming Association of Public Accountants.

* Years as a lobbyist: 16

* Background: Jones served in the Legislature for a decade from 1977 to 1986. He also is a former deputy state auditor and worked as a lawyer in Powell.

Mike Moser

* Lobbies for: Wyoming Retail Merchants Association, Wyoming State Liquor Association, Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association, Wyoming Assisted Living Coalition and the Wyoming Associations and Government Affairs Network.

* Years as a lobbyist: 12

* Background: A former business owner in Cheyenne, Moser sold his bar and restaurant about seven years ago to lobby full-time.

- Compiled by Jared Miller, Star-Tribune capital bureau

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