Thursday, January 7, 2010

week one down

So essentially this week is done. The old-timers in the Senate decided they were canceling their session day today due to the snow storm. I think we're only supposed to get about four inches, but since some of them are older and have to drive to the edges of the state on back roads, I suppose I understand. It's not like much is happening at this point anyway.

Dinner on Tuesday went well. Had a potential client chat me up for a while and I was pretty pleased about that. I went to the statehouse after swinging by a client's office to collect their invitations for their statehouse day at the end of the month (that's where their members come to the statehouse to talk to their individual legislators about issues). After dropping off the invitations to the legislative mailroom, I wandered the halls for a bit. It's really like high school. You see the same faces, everyone is checking each other out and sizing each other up. Not everyone, but many do that. I tend to chat with those folks I've been friends with for years.

It's funny, one of my buddy's has an intern this year. Nice guy, but I felt bad for him because my buddy is a wanderer (he can't just stand still in the halls), so this poor guy was following him around the whole time I was there and he looked like a deer in the headlights. By the end of session though, he'll have met all the folks he needed to meet and will probably have a pretty good understanding of the process.

Anyway, after staying over at the Statehouse for an hour or two, I went back with a buddy to my former employer's office to hang out until the insurance industry's reception at 6 p.m. At the reception, I took a client VP around an introduced him to a bunch of different legislators. The problem was that when I'd try and get another legislator for him to chat up, I'd get stuck talking to someone else and I'd be delayed in getting back over to him to keep the conversation fresh. At least the bartender kept the Amstel Light's flowing for me.

Around 7:15, the Senate Chairman gave me the high sign that he was ready to get out of there and go grab dinner. So I started herding the cats and got everyone lined up to go. We made our way over to the restaurant and were seated pretty well on time.

It was a nice room in the wine cellar of the restaurant, but it was a big long table. So the legislators sat at one end together and I was down at the other end (due to getting down there last after picking up the bar tab at the restaurant while waiting to be seated). The main thing is that my clients were next to the legislators, so all was well. Dinner was long, but think it went pretty well. I could tell the House Chairman was a bit uncomfortable because he likes to go to dives instead of nice restaurants (so do I), but he did it as a favor to me.

We got done around 10 p.m., and then two guys from one of my clients wanted to go grab a beer afterwards. Actually it was pretty cool. My main contact with this company is getting ready to retire one of these days, so he was trying to introduce me to the guy I was dragging around at the reception. It was nice of him to do and we had a couple beers until about 11:30 or midnight.

That is not the norm for me. I'm pretty fond of getting home at a decent hour during the week, but they seemed to enjoy it and even went so far as to say that I was probably their only lobbyist in the country that could've lined up both Chairmen for a dinner (House and Senate). That was good to hear because most company's only hire someone to represent them if you have a law degree. It's not that I couldn't probably make it through law school, I just don't want to spend the money on that. I'm already paying off my Master's and I'll be damned if I'm going to be paying off student loans for my entire professional career!

Well, I'm not going through the filed bills and writing reports for clients. I hope to get that done today.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Since session starts tomorrow, the work starts to pick up now. In addition to the typical stuff any other lobbyist has to do (find out which bills are moving and who is pushing them and why), I will be going through the legislation filed to this point in order to send out a weekly summary to my clients.

This is typically most difficult at the beginning of session since there will probably be about 100 bills that deal with insurance issues. The off-set is that things move pretty slow during the first week or two of session, so I should be able to whittle down the list of bills that actually have a chance of moving pretty quickly. I suspect my laptop will be traveling companion for the first few weeks of session, then the iphone will take over. Off subject here, but I'm still undecided on the iphone. Don't get me wrong, I love the Oregon Trail game app, but there are occasions where the calls won't go through on the first attempt or two and sometimes the internet cuts out in mid-search.

So today, I'm finally doing some cleaning up and organizing in my home office so I can operate a bit more efficiently during session. I'll also be hanging a nice photo from my soon-to-be brother-in-law who may be my new man-crush since it was the 1985 Bears Superbowl team photo.

Tomorrow will be a long day, so nothing like jumping back in head first. I haven't decided when I'll be going in. Probably after lunch since session typically starts at 1 and 1:30 for each chamber.

Oh, the other off-topic subject is back to the gym now. I do enough outside during the summertime, and the fall is a mixed-bag, but in the winter, especially during session, it is a great outlet for any tension and anger...might need to add a few songs to the phone. Happy New Year all!