Get to Know Your NHRLA Lobbyist

The following report is from NHRLA Lobbyist, Curtis Barry of The Dupont Group.

Did You Know?

The lumber and building materials industry employs nearly 17,500 people in N.H.

Lobby Day

NHRLA hosted its innaugural bi-annual Legislative Luncheon on June 15 of this year. Check out the recap here

Tell us a little about your background. Where did you grow up, go to school, etc.?

I’m a native of New Hampshire—born, raised, and educated, including at the University of New Hampshire. I worked at my father’s restaurant in a small town and decided early on that the restaurant business was not necessarily for me. I also discovered I liked and had an aptitude for politics.
The early part of my career, like many of us, involved several political campaigns. The New Hampshire presidential primary affords many opportunities, and for me, it was meeting someone who would eventually become state Senate president and hire me for his staff.

What made you realize you wanted to be a lobbyist?

Serving on legislative staff provides a peek into government relations, and I found the challenges and interactions of moving legislation appealing. Plus, I love talking to people.

What was your first lobbying or political job, and what was your favorite part of it?

In New Hampshire, we are fortunate to host the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, which offers a great opportunity for residents to get involved at a high level. I volunteered for a presidential primary campaign here in New Hampshire in 1988 that was not a top-tier candidate, which afforded me the opportunity to take on a lot of responsibility, which led to recognition and assignments almost as if I were in a paid internship. It’s very cool being around and amongst national political and news figures. You’d see a “who’s who” of national journalists at local bars at night.

What is something people are always surprised to learn about your role as a lobbyist or what you do in government?

  1. Martini lunches are a myth.
  2. There are a lot of small items that can be taken care of with a 10-minute phone call.
  3. Why some clients need a lobbyist.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve worked on lately?

  1. In the 2023 session, I spearheaded comprehensive privacy legislation, affording citizens rights over their personal data held by the private sector. In New Hampshire, it was established in statute several decades ago that medical records are the property of the patient, not the provider. And, in 2018, New Hampshire voters, with over 80% approving, adopted a constitutional amendment establishing a citizen’s right to privacy in their dealings with state and local government, so this is the next step consistent with the other two. The bill is currently in a House committee, held until November.

If you were not a lobbyist, what would you be?

  1. Bartender.

And just for fun, what about your home state do you believe every person should experience at least once? (food, location, experience, etc.)

That’s like asking me which of the three is my favorite child. But if I have to answer, it is likely something simple, like a drive along the Kancamagus Highway from Lincoln to Conway. Autumn is nice for that, but it provides spectacular views in any season.