Mercury-Illinois Adds Top Talent as Former Senator Toi Hutchinson and Zach Koutsky Join Growing Firm

CHICAGO (July 26, 2023) – Mercury, a leading global, bipartisan public strategy firm, announced two additions to its growing presence in Chicago and Springfield, Ill., with the additions of former Illinois State Senator and Senior Advisor to Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker Toi Hutchinson and longtime Democratic strategist and lobbyist Zach Koutsky. Mercury’s expanding roster of top strategists have unparalleled relationships with elected officials and changemakers at all levels, including in Washington, D.C. and throughout the Midwest.

Hutchinson joins Mercury after serving as the first woman President and CEO of the Marijuana Policy Project. From 2009 to 2019, Hutchinson served as an Illinois State Senator representing the 40th District. During her time in the Senate, Hutchinson championed a variety of causes, including modernizing the state’s tax structure, and notably, legalizing cannabis as an original co-sponsor of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA), a law which promotes equity and invests in the communities that suffered through the war on drugs. Hutchinson’s work on the CRTA continues to serve as a model for the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis in other states.

“I am thrilled to have former Senator Hutchinson join our Mercury-Illinois team,” said former Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, Mercury Co-Chair. “Her background as an influential advocate for meaningful causes makes her an expert at navigating difficult situations and a strong ally in Illinois and nationally.”

While in the Senate, Hutchinson also served as the 46th president of the National Conference of State Legislatures where she formed relationships with policymakers across the country. Hutchinson left the Senate in 2019 following the passage of the CRTA to accept an appointment by Gov. Pritzker to serve as the Senior Advisor to the Governor for Cannabis Control.

Koutsky brings to Mercury-Illinois deep roots in organized labor, Democratic politics and government relations. Bustos said, “As an experienced strategist and tactician, Zach Koutsky is another strong addition to our Mercury-Illinois team. With solid relationships in Chicago and Springfield, he will undoubtedly help move the needle for our clients.”

Prior to joining Mercury, Koutsky founded Berteau Consulting, a boutique government relations and political consulting firm based in Chicago with clients in Springfield and City Hall, alongside political clients at the local, state, and federal level.  Koutsky previously served as the Legislative and Political Director to a statewide 35,000-member labor union, with stints in state government and senior positions in political campaigns at all levels including State Treasurer Mike Frerichs and both of Barack Obama’s Presidential campaigns. He is a proud graduate of Illinois State University and University of Illinois-Chicago and is raising his three children with his wife in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood.


About Mercury 

Mercury is a high-stakes, bipartisan public strategy firm. The firm provides a comprehensive suite of services that includes federal government relations, international affairs, digital influence, public opinion research, media strategy and a bipartisan grassroots mobilization network in all 50 states. Our firm is not just led by top talent — we distinguish ourselves by having senior talent deeply engaged in each project from start to finish, a promise we keep to clients. In addition to Illinois, the firm has U.S. offices in Washington, D.C., New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Montana, Texas and South Carolina. Mercury is a part of the Omnicom Public Relations Group.


About Omnicom Public Relations Group 

Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and specialist agencies in areas including public affairs, language strategy, global health strategy and change management. As the largest group of communications professionals in the world, our employees provide expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and nonprofits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group delivers for clients through a relentless focus on talent, continuous pursuit of innovation and a culture steeped in collaboration. Omnicom Public Relations Group is part of the Communications Consultancy Network, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC).


Hannah Knoch
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