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K Street Files: A Change for Change That Works

Updated: 4:47 p.m.

Change That Works, which started as a campaign by the Service Employees International Union, is becoming a separate organization that will be unveiled in the coming weeks. The effort will work to gin up support for progressive proposals on health care reform, immigration, financial services and climate change.

[IMGCAP(1)]“It’s going to be a multimillion-dollar operation and will have several hundred staff,— said Richard Ades, a spokesman for Change That Works. “The whole goal is to have a permanent organization that stimulates the grass roots so the voices of the people are heard rather than the voices of special interests.—

Ades said the group — which will be particularly active in pivotal states such as Arkansas, Iowa and Louisiana — will focus on getting health care reform passed and then move into other issues. He said the new Change That Works will formally kick off later this month.

In addition to the SEIU, a wide range of like-minded progressive organizations will be backing the effort. For now, Ades declined to name any additional groups.

ACCCE Loses Member. Duke Energy, the nation’s third largest utility, withdrew Tuesday as a member of the coal industry lobby group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity over a disagreement on cap-and-trade legislation.

“While some individual members of ACCCE are working to pass climate change legislation, we believe ACCCE is constrained by influential member companies who will not support passing climate change legislation in 2009 or 2010,— Duke spokesman Tom Williams said in a statement.

Duke also pulled its membership from the National Association of Manufacturers in December after it took issue with the trade group’s stance on climate change.

Williams said that recent revelations about ACCCE’s involvement in forged letters to key House lawmakers before the climate change bill vote in June did not have any bearing on the company’s decision to leave.

In a statement, ACCCE acknowledged Duke’s departure, noting that “From time to time, individual coalition members may have different perspectives with regard to important policy positions.—

But it also defended its environmental stance. “Our coalition strongly supports policies that seek continuous environmental improvements through the deployment of advanced technologies; ensure access to affordable, reliable electricity as means of promoting economic prosperity; and promote greater energy independence through the use of domestic energy resources like coal,— the group added in its statement.

PR Man. Ben Finzel, formerly a senior vice president with Fleishman-Hillard, is becoming head of the public affairs practice at Widmeyer Communications. His past clients have included Chevron, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, UPS, the American Trucking Associations, the American Wind Energy Association, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. departments of State, Transportation and Homeland Security.

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