McHugh, Koepke & Associates is a government relations firm specializing in advocacy, public affairs, research and analysis for clients throughout California. It devises and implements effective lobbying and communication strategies, analyzes the impacts of proposed legislation and regulations, organizes grassroots advocacy efforts and drafts legislation, regulations and technical amendments.

The firm was established in December 2000; however its partners, Gavin and Shari McHugh and Dawn Koepke, represent over 40 years of lobbying experience in Sacramento. They have successfully advocated the interests of their clients and have developed the relationships and expertise necessary to develop and promote legislation and regulation before California’s State Senate, Assembly, Governor and state agencies.

Prior to opening his government relations firm in late 2000, Mr. McHugh was Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, for the California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA). He was responsible for overseeing CMTA’s advocacy program before the legislature and administration. Gavin’s top priorities included improving the state’s business climate by accomplishing meaningful reform of California’s regulatory, tax and tort laws. From 1991 to 1997, Gavin served as Manager of U.S. Public and Government Affairs for Texaco in Sacramento where he worked to foster pro-growth legislation. Prior to his assignment with Texaco, Gavin was legislative advocate from 1984 to 1991 for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) and served on the staff of Senators Bob Presley and Dan McCorquodale.

Prior to joining the firm in 2003, Mrs. McHugh served as Senior Vice President of the Coalition of California Insurance Professionals (CCIP) where she was responsible for managing all of the legislative and regulatory issues facing insurance agents in California. For 8 years prior to joining CCIP, she served as the Senior Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents (PIA). Shari has worked diligently over the years to develop and maintain working relationships with legislators, legislative staff, regulatory officials, Constitutional officers, administration representatives, lobbyists, media personnel and industry representatives. Ms. McHugh graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a degree in Political Communication and Government.

Prior to joining the firm in 2003 as a legislative advocate and becoming a Partner in 2012, Dawn Koepke joined the then McHugh & Associates team.She has been a key asset to the firm, handling advocacy for clients in the policy areas of environmental safety and toxic materials, public safety, health and human services, and education. She is an integral member of many pro-business lobbying coalitions including the Thursday Group , WATER Coalition and as the co-chair of the Green Chemistry Alliance, working to ensure a science-based framework is developed to implement the Green Chemistry Initiative in California. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Koepke served in the Davis Administration, working directly for the Governor. She graduated from San Francisco State with a degree in International Relations and from California State University, Sacramento with a Master’s in Public Policy & Administration.

2009 Small Lobbying Firm Award

Charitable Giving

  • Asian Pacific Islander Capitol Caucus
  • Autism Speaks
  • Blue Oaks Elementary
  • Capitol Network
  • The Child Abuse Prevention Center
  • Coalition for Clean Air
  • Crime Victims United of California
  • Empty Bowls
  • Equality California
  • John Burton Foundation
  • Moretti Memorial Scholarship Foundation
  • St. Francis School
  • Jordan's Guardian Angels
  • Team Blackout Youth Basketball