Debra Dixon, a longtime former aide to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, has joined boutique lobbying and public affairs shop Ferox Strategies, the firm plans to announce Tuesday.
She brought client Microsoft Corp. with her from tech-focused firm TwinLogic Strategies, where she’d worked since 2016. Dixon is also working on two newly signed Ferox clients, the Seasonal Employers Alliance and Eli Lilly & Co. Lilly is a large pharmaceutical company whose drugs are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which is under HHS.
Dixon is the firm’s fourth lobbyist. She describes Ferox Strategies as having a “startup feel,” adding in an interview, “We fight above our weight class.”
Dixon officially started on March 8, about a week and a half before the Senate confirmed Becerra, a former congressman and California attorney general, to his Cabinet position. She spent 16 years in his congressional office, first as legislative director and trade counsel and then as chief of staff. Dixon left Capitol Hill in 2014.
“I have a great relationship with my former boss, and I look forward to continuing to work with him,” Dixon said when asked if she may lobby Becerra in his new role.
An Ohio native, Dixon started her career in Washington as an immigration attorney at the Justice Department and has a background in trade policy; however, she’s prepared to take on whatever issues come up.
“I love that we’ve got somebody that’s this smart and this strong on so many policy fronts,” said Cristina Antelo, who founded Ferox Strategies in 2017.
The two met around 2005, when Dixon was serving as Becerra’s top aide and Antelo was just getting her start as a lobbyist, and they later became friends. They were both active with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and were “always crossing paths,” Dixon said.
“She made a great impression of someone who cared about the same issues that I did, and was willing to put a lot of elbow grease behind shaping policy or bringing about change,” she said.
Ferox Strategies earned $1.9 million in lobbying fees last year, a 30% increase over 2019, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis of lobbying disclosures filed with Congress.
The firm’s clients include Walmart Inc., Diageo North America Inc., NCTA — The Internet and Television Association, the National 4-H Council, the Argentinian government, and pharmaceutical company Viatris Inc., formerly known as Mylan.
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