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Darrell L. Conner

Government Affairs Counselor
Fax +1.202.778.9100

Mr. Conner is a government affairs counselor in the public policy and law practice group at K&L Gates, one of the largest policy groups in the United States. As a government affairs counselor for K&L Gates, he has more than 26 years of experience working with Congress and the executive branch. Since 2017, he has been recognized by The Hill as one of the nation’s Top Lobbyists.

Mr. Conner’s practice focuses on federal government relations, where he represents clients on a range of matters, including:

  • Domestic and international shipping (including military sealift);
  • Fisheries and natural resources;
  • Domestic energy policy;
  • Transportation and infrastructure;
  • Port and maritime security;
  • International trade; and
  • Federal appropriations and budget.

He also has extensive legislative experience in general public policy analysis and planning, strategic counseling, and coalition management and coordination. Mr. Conner also assists clients in incorporating public policy into their strategic planning, integrating public relations into their legal and advocacy activities, and legislative drafting.

His principal representations include fishermen and other fishery stakeholders, cargo and passenger vessel operators, a ship classification society, transportation product manufacturers and service providers, and a leading coalition of U.S. maritime interests.

He has worked with the Department of Transportation (including the office of the Secretary, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the Maritime Administration), the Department of Commerce (specifically, the office of the Secretary, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and National Marine Fisheries Service), the Department of Homeland Security (U.S. Coast Guard), and the Department of Defense.

Mr. Conner is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the International Propeller Club of the United States, and is a past president of the Washington, D.C. chapter of the International Propeller Club.

Mr. Conner served on the staff of the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries of the U.S. House of Representatives under its ranking member, Congressman Bob Davis (R-MI).

  • Assisting a major cruise shipping company obtain legislation and regulatory authority permitting the company to operate U.S.-flag ships in coastwise service, creating thousands of American jobs and generating millions of dollars in economic activity.
  • Representing the largest U.S. maritime coalition in history in successfully defending the domestic coastwise transportation laws.
  • Helping a major tanker operator obtain legislation permitting long-term participation in the Maritime Security Program for its U.S.-flag tankers.
  • Assisting a major cruise line obtain legal authority, through legislation and regulation, that permits increased flexibility in hiring of certain crew on board its U.S.-flag vessels.
  • Advising a major container shipping company and a major tank vessel operator regarding their U.S.-flag operations and related Department of Defense sealift capabilities.
  • Representing maritime clients in successfully persuading Congress to appropriate funding for the Title XI shipbuilding loan guarantee program.
  • Assisting in the development and enactment of a multi-year, multi-million dollar program for dual use military-commercial sealift capability with the U.S. Transportation Command.
  • Working closely with maritime regulatory agency to obtain necessary approvals for the transfers of Maritime Security Program agreements to major container shipping company.
  • Advising a major ship classification society on various public policy matters.
  • Advising a U.S. offshore energy company on legislative and regulatory matters related to production of oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf of the U.S.
  • Counseling maritime companies and associations on impacts of increased crude oil and natural gas production in the U.S.
  • Assisting coalition in obtaining legislation permitting the export of Alaska North Slope crude oil.
  • Assisting a major Class I railroad in obtaining approximately $4 million that was earmarked for the development and deployment of positive train control systems designed to improve safety and security, as well as productivity, for rail operations.
  • Counseling to major rail supplier regarding legislative and regulatory efforts to increase the use of technologies such as communications-based train control systems and electronically-controlled pneumatic braking systems.
  • Serving as primary outside government relations advisor to trailer manufacturing trade organization.
  • Helping a West Coast fisherman’s association on development and implementation of harvesting quota program to rationalize the fishery.
  • Representing a major conservation organization on efforts to improve fisheries management and conservation provisions, including specifically the implementation of catch share programs.
  • Assisting conservation interests in defeating legislative initiatives in appropriations and authorizing bills that could result in overfishing or overcapitalizing in U.S. fisheries.
  • Providing policy and political advice to fishermen and conservation organizations regarding fisheries management and conservation measures, including specifically measures contained in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
  • Advising trade association on impacts of international trade agreements on domestic maritime interests.
  • Representing a coalition on the continuation of maritime exclusions in U.S. trade agreements, and advocating same before the U.S. Trade Representatives Office.
  • Counseling a Pacific Northwest technology company on tariffs and tariff exclusion requests.