Quincy native Mark Palmer is ready to embark on a new venture focusing on environmentally friendly projects.
Palmer, 41, will team up with Jerome Ringo -- a pioneer in the environmental movement -- to create The Ringo and Palmer Group LLC, where the pair "will focus on green matters, international representations before the U.S. government mainly developing countries and African nations on energy matters, as well as renewable and emerging technologies."
Palmer has worked at Van Ness Feldman LLC law group that works on energy issues in recent years, and before that was senior adviser at the Farm Service Agency, dealing with legislation in Congress. He worked for the American Soybean Association and the National Corn Growers Association.
Palmer previously was majority counsel for the U.S. House Small Business Committee. He spent four years on the staff of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. He also worked for three years on the staff of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and served a three-month internship for the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon, D-Ill.
"Since my time in Washington, going back to my time as a policy advisor to Senator Dick Durbin, I have had a passion for agriculture and energy policy, green technology, and how these matters fit into the domestic and international marketplace. As such, this venture will enable Jerome and me to work directly into that space," Palmer said.
His last day at Van Ness Feldman was Friday.
Turnabout is political play
Political groups have their own version of the Golden Rule.
Instead of saying "do unto others as you would have others do unto you," the political consultants working with Republicans, Democrats and other parties subscribe to the theory that they should "do unto others before they do unto you -- and keep doing what you can to weaken any opponents."
Reporters who covered former U.S. House member Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, who was elected in 2010, received a constant stream of negative emails about Schilling from Democratic activists.
Messages came in almost daily with headlines such as -- "Will Bobby Schilling stand up for the 17th District, or will he vote with the Republicans who want to shut down the government."
Schilling lost that House seat in 2012, in a redrawn district that eliminated Republican-leaning Adams County and picked up some more Democrat-friendly territory to the north of the Quad Cities.
Cheri Bustos, an East Moline Democrat, is now completing her first term in Congress after beating Schilling by nearly 19,000 votes. And the Republican activists are sending out the same kind of emails targeting Bustos that were sent out by Bustos supporters a few years ago.
"Cheri Bustos looks the other way while new Medicare Part D regulations continue to hurt seniors" -- read one recent release.
Schilling is seeking a rematch with Bustos. Political junkies note that fewer voters will turn out in a non-presidential election, which could help Schilling's cause. Democrats also may face some headwinds after the botched rollout of Obamacare, the NSA snooping scandal and a slow economic recovery.