Monday, November 21, 2011

So it's been a while

Once again, things are starting to ramp up in legislative circles. Recently, I've had a couple of client activities, but things are relatively calm. The main work has been with a client who is pro-actively proposing legislation this year. This particular client was a specialty type of insurance and we had an ally in a state association of these insurers. Unfortunately, the state association is not paying for a lobbyist this year, so I'll be going it alone.

The client texted me an requested a meeting. Those client contacts are always a little nerve-racking (sp?) and I automatically do a review in my head to make sure I haven't dropped the ball or failed them in some way. I felt good about the meeting, but you never know.

So the meeting was them asking for guidance in how to approach this year. We set out a plan and I've started preparing for the 2012 session for them.

As the Superbowl is in Indianapolis this year, many in the lobbying community are speculating about the length of the session. (As a reminder, Indiana's legislature is a part-time citizen legislature that meets for long and short sessions in alternating years). Since the Superbowl will be in the middle of session, and the legislators will need to give up their hotel rooms, some are speculating the year could end well ahead of the late March deadline.

In thinking about the new folks entering in to politics/lobbying, a new suggestion comes to mind (thanks to my teen daughters): focus on the person speaking, and not your texts/facebook updates. I don't care if your grandmother is in the hospital and your mom is calling...when you are dealing with a client or legislator, you focus 100% of your attention on them and not your girlfriend's text.

Sorry...was that the bitter rant of an old man?


  1. What is the best way to gain internships? I am a young college student, but have the means to take an internship anywhere. Do you recommend starting out in the DC scene or local level? I went to my countys local convention, but honestly didn't see much room for growth for a future in becoming an aide or lobbyist. We have a prominent congressman here, but he's been here forever and is on his last term. Are there any hidden gems as far as public office positions are concerned to work for that are overlooked in the realm of big decision makers with access to deep funds? Thank you for your time!

  2. Austin,
    I know this comment is probably WAYYYY too late for your use (and I apologize for not responding sooner), but I wanted to go ahead and respond for the thousands of others (it's amazing thousands have viewed this blog) who may see this.

    But to answer your question, I think you have to go to where your heart and your passion take you. If you feel a calling to go to DC and see federal politics in action (it's where I took my first internship which caused me to promptly look for state-level internships), then go there. Likewise for state or local issues.

    The theme that I seem to hit on over and over as I recall my thoughts is that I believe you have to have passion. If your passion is to just get to DC and lobby for whomever offers you a position, then go lobby for whatever comes along, but for me, it was a process of several years before I found the right spot. I think that's the beauty of lobbying compared to other careers: There is a level of government and issue that each of us can share our passion. That passion and enthusiasm can be tough to hold on to at times, but if you truly believe in what and to whom you are advocating, you will look in the mirror each night and have that sense of contentment.

    That may sound a little hoaky, but that was what it was/is about for me.