Elly Colmers Cowan

For nearly a decade, Elly has been lobbying at the state, local, and federal levels on a wide range of topics including tax credit policy, environmental and land use issues, and budget priorities. Prior to joining Compass, Elly advocated on behalf of historic preservation, smart growth, and land conservation non-profits, and she has forged strong relationships with General Assembly leadership and other key players during her time in Annapolis.

Her years of experience in all aspects of advocacy – from public policy development to coalition building to grassroots organizing- ensure a wholistic approach to lobbying for her clients.

A Baltimore native, Elly lives in the City with her husband, son, and three cats. When not working, she enjoys cooking, reading, and supporting small businesses in her neighborhood.

General Elections Preview

The Maryland General Election this year is a rare opportunity to see the “big four” up for election: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller, and Attorney General. With a new gubernatorial administration comes opportunity for increased legislative movement. Select legislators could move into the administration, allowing for some committee shakeups.

In Delaware, all seats are up for re-election due to redistricting. Compass will keep a pulse on contentious races that could impact the composition of the leadership in the General Assembly. This is not an election year for Governor Carney, so we do anticipate general consistency in the make up of the Administration.

District of Columbia will also hold their General Election on November 8th. We expect to see a few new faces in the coming year. Compass is monitoring contentious At-Large race between Kenyan McDuffie and Elissa Silverman.

This election lends the Compass team an opportunity to facilitate working relationships from freshman delegates to Governors’ offices, while strengthening the relationships we currently hold.

We will hold a call on November 9th to deliver a live update from our government relations team about election results in Maryland, Delaware, and D.C.

Budget Changes

The 2023 Session will bring a significant change to the state budget process. Prior to 2023, once the Governor submits the operating budget to the General Assembly in January, the legislature could only make cuts. They could not add money to the budget and could not shift money from one program to another. Beginning in 2023, the legislature will be able to add money to sections of the operating budget, as long as the Governor’s overall level of spending is not exceeded. The Governor maintains some power as they will be able to veto these individual budget actions. This creates additional advocacy opportunities should money not make it into the Governor’s proposed operating budget.

The Compass Government Relations team is here to help you navigate these changes. Contact us today!

Addison Pruitt

Addison is a Principal of Government Relations and Director of Public Relations at Compass Advocacy. Wearing both hats, Addison connects the dots between government advocacy and brand strategy, helping clients on projects ranging from lobbying to logo design.

Government Relations

Prior to joining Compass in 2021, he served as the Communications Specialist for the U.S. Architect of the Capitol’s historic Cannon Renewal Project, where he coordinated messaging and outreach initiatives to House Members, staff, and key congressional stakeholders.

Addison also spent three years in the Maryland General Assembly as Chief of Staff to Delegate Darryl Barnes, Chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland. In this role, he worked on legislation to improve equity, procurement, and funding opportunities for minority businesses and disadvantaged communities across the state of Maryland.

Public Relations

Aside from his political experience, Addison has helped several nonprofits and businesses in the Greater Washington Region, providing consulting services in branding, graphic design, website development, and multimedia. With a spirit for community and collaboration, he launched a creative pop-up event series in 2017 for young professionals to connect through arts and music.

Additional Background

Addison studied Marketing with a concentration in Product and Brand Management at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a lifelong resident of Prince George’s County and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Alex Shull

Alex has a decade of legislative, lobbying, and advocacy experience at the federal, state, and local levels of government. As a former Government Affairs Director for the Port of Baltimore, she has strong relationships with members in the Baltimore region of the Maryland General Assembly as well as Hogan Administration officials. Having worked for members of the House and Senate that represented Maryland’s Eastern Shore Alex brings unique, long-standing relationships in this rural jurisdiction. In addition, Alex manages the Delaware book for Compass’ Government Affairs practice. In Delaware, Alex works to advance client objectives within Leg Hall and at the local levels of government.

Alex has extensive background on business and tax policy, particularly with respect to issues that impact the transportation and logistics industry. She has experience in cannabis, energy, and civil justice policy and often assists clients in procurement pursuits in both Delaware and Maryland. Her ties to departments like transportation, natural resources, and information and technology in both states enable clients to easily get in front of decision makers ahead of sought-after procurements.

When not lobbying in the halls of Annapolis or Dover you can find Alex hiking, running, or growing something new in her garden. She has a strong sense of community and believes in giving back often and supporting the efforts of those doing good in her area.

Josh Howe

Josh excels in policy analysis, logistics, and strategic advice. For the past several years, Josh has represented clients in policy matters related to business regulation, labor & employment, planning and zoning, civil justice, and behavioral health. Josh advocates for clients across Maryland and its local county jurisdictions including Montgomery and Anne Arundel Counties. Josh also heads Compass’ Washington D.C. government relations division, representing clients before the D.C. Council and Mayor’s executive agencies.

As a former staffer to Maryland State Senator Nancy King, Josh ran the Montgomery County Senate Delegation. Since his time in the private sector, Josh has been able to effectively leverage strong relationships with members and staff of the General Assembly to obtain our client’s policy priorities. Josh ensures Compass clients are ready to advocate before the Maryland General Assembly and leads effective advocacy training for clients and their association members. Josh routinely appears with and on behalf of clients before the Senate Judicial Proceedings and Finance Committees, as well as the House Judiciary, Economic Matters, and Health & Government Operations Committee.

Originally from Calvert County, Josh is a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park, enjoys running, camping, and playing golf.

Morgan Mills

As Director of Government Relations, she offers insightful policy analysis and political strategy for our clients in Maryland and on the federal level, as well as assisting with ethics compliance for the government relations team. Morgan Mills joined the Compass Government Relations team in October 2021. Prior to joining Compass, she spent two sessions with Delegate Williams at the Maryland General Assembly, crafting policy, offering legislative support, and handling constituent services.

Born and raised in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, Morgan is a graduate of UMBC, where she studied Political Science.

When she’s not working, Morgan enjoys hiking with her dog, camping, and spending time with her family.

Robert J. Garagiola

A triple threat for Compass, Rob serves as a Principal for Compass Government Relations and Compass Public Relations and as the Managing Member for Compass Law. With nearly 30 years of legislative, lobbying, and advocacy experience at the federal, state, and local levels of government, and over 20 years practicing law in D.C. and MD, Rob plays a leading role in managing the Compass leadership team and nurturing the firm’s enterprise growth and innovation.

Government Relations

An expert on energy, tax, business regulation, and procurement matters, Rob lobbies for clients in Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. As a former Maryland State Senate Majority Leader and State Senator for ten years, Rob understands the inner workings of state government. Prior to becoming a State Senator, he spent close to a decade on Capitol Hill – both as a lobbyist and senior staffer for U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., who is now the Chairman of the Energy & Commerce Committee.

Law Practice

Rob has represented legal clients in nearly every sector, ranging from accounting firms to physician practices, trade associations, and nonprofits. Rob advises clients on general business, employment, and commercial leasing matters, helping them form and grow companies, draft corporate governance documents, and provide counsel on various contract issues. He has been recognized as a Super Lawyer since 2016.

Public Relations

Having run for office at the state and federal levels, Rob has extensive media and communications experience. For nearly a decade, he has helped clients with various grassroots advocacy efforts to affect and shape public opinion on a range of issues. Rob has also worked with clients to develop innovative strategies to convey their message before traditional media, digital media, and other venues.

Additional Background

Rob served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1995 to 2003 and received his jump wings in 2000. He is a member of various nonprofit boards, including those with a focus on the arts, healthcare, renewable energy, and public safety. He is married to Hannah Powers Garagiola, the founder of Compass Advocacy, and has five children and a Jack Russell Terrier named Oyster. In his spare time, he enjoys boating, traveling, reading, and cooking.

Practice Areas

Government Relations

  • Business Regulation
  • Energy
  • Healthcare
  • Procurement
  • Taxation & Fees

Public Relations

  • Communications
  • Grassroots & Political Campaign Strategy
  • Public Affairs & Coalition Building

Law

  • Business Law
  • Contracts & Commercial Leases
  • Employment/Labor Law

Team Spotlight: Rob Garagiola

An expert on energy, tax, business regulation, and procurement matters, Rob lobbies for clients in Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. As a former Maryland State Senate Majority Leader and State Senator for ten years, Rob understands the inner workings of state government. Prior to becoming a State Senator, he spent close to a decade on Capitol Hill – both as a lobbyist and senior staffer for U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., who is now the Chairman of the Energy & Commerce Committee. In addition, he has experience lobbying in Baltimore City and Frederick County. Rob also lobbies before the Delaware General Assembly, DC City Council, and in the halls of Congress.

A triple threat for Compass, Rob serves as a Principal for Compass Government Relations and Compass Public Relations and as the Managing Member for Compass Law. With nearly 30 years of legislative, lobbying, and advocacy experience at the federal, state, and local levels of government, and over 20 years practicing law in D.C. and MD, Rob plays a leading role in managing the Compass leadership team and nurturing the firm’s enterprise growth and innovation.

Services Spotlight: Procurement

Compass Government Relations helps dozens of clients obtain contracts with state and local governments in MD, DE and D.C.; However, navigating state and local procurement can be daunting task. It is not just about submitting a bid and signing on the dotted line. A robust government relations strategy can help develop more targeted business pipelines through identifying future opportunities, developing relationships with stakeholders, and holding discussions well ahead of any blackout periods.

Compass guides our clients through the process of conducting business in the public sector. We open the right doors and provide strategic advice that wins our clients contracts. We help clients work through the state and local levels, public school systems, university systems and Maryland’s unique Board of Public Works, a panel composed of the State’s governor, treasurer, and comptroller that votes on all state contracts over $250,000.

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