Veterans are familiar figures in the halls of Congress, as visitors, experts and even members -- over 110 lawmakers have served in the military. But as lobbyists? Not so much.
Jason Utton, a retired logistics officer and registered lobbyist with NextEra Energy, has only heard rumors of one other combat veteran turned lobbyist.
For Utton, however, the decision was an easy one. Four overseas tours, including several in Iraq, convinced the retired army captain that energy independence should be a primary national goal. Not surprising since his overseas military work focused on energy, including providing fuel support for armored divisions.
"I very vividly remember [images of] the burning oil fields in Kuwait, and I would constantly think of that when I was in Kuwait, how important it is to keep them secure," he told the Alley, adding, "If I could work in the oil field or in the green field, I chose obviously to work in the green field."
After leaving the army, Utton joined NextEra to develop wind energy technology in North Dakota, South Dakota, Michigan, Illinois and Iowa. His work brought him to Capitol Hill to testify in front of congressional panels where he found he enjoyed explaining the importance of ending the country's dependence on foreign oil.