Here are 1,400 reasons to befriend a lobbyist | NevadaAppeal.com

Here are 1,400 reasons to befriend a lobbyist

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Ben Graham, with the Clark County District Attorney's office, makes cookies Thursday at the Legislature. Graham, his wife Elana and their daughter Elana-Lee baked and distributed 1,400 cookies on Cookie Day, a traditional part of the Legislative session for more than 10 years.
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Walking through the halls of the Nevada Legislative Building, lobbyist Ben Graham receives an unusual greeting from the lawmakers, aides and lobbyists he encounters.

While he’s officially a member of the Nevada District Attorney’s Association, Graham is unofficially known around the building as “the cookie man.”

For one day each legislative session, Graham and his family bake more than 1,400 cookies for anybody and everybody who wants one.

“It’s become kind of a fun tradition,” Graham said Thursday. “I’ve been told the staff hears about it when they come in for orientation.”

The event used to be called the “Day of 1,000 cookies” but Graham said he had change it when the total surpassed 1,200.

While he uses the kitchen facilities at the Legislature to bake the cookies, the dough is made at his home, a batch of 27 cookies at a time.

“I do it because whomever you are, a groundskeeper, a lobbyist or a citizen visiting the Legislature, you should have a cookie. And if you want one, today is the day to get it,” Graham said.

While the majority of the cookies are chocolate chip, made from a recipe found almost 20 years ago, Graham does make some oatmeal raisin for lawmakers with discriminating tastes.

Each batch of 27 contains two cups of nuts and three cups of chocolate chips.

Graham said he has baked all his life and makes about 10,000 cookies a year, both for Cookie Day and for Christmas celebrations.

“It’s just a way of sharing with each other,” Graham said. “It’s a fun thing for this building, and frankly there aren’t a lot of fun things in this building.”

He does caution lawmakers to limit themselves to 17 cookies, over that and it must be reported as a contribution.

“If they eat less than 17, the cost to make them is under the reporting statute minimum. Over that and it’s reported as gluttony,” Graham said.

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.




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