Lobbying has a bad reputation that it has held for many years. Many in the general public see lobbyists throwing money at legislators in Washington D.C. to count the noses for their desired vote. Others view them as simply representing special interests.
The term lobbyist is believed to have originated in British Parliament, and referred to the lobbies outside the chambers where the wheeling and dealing of government took place. Popular usage in the U.K. ensued in the 1840s and migrated to the U.S.
Given that Val is a registered lobbyist in the State of Colorado, consider his views on what an effective “lobby” does or doesn’t entail.
- Policy specialists indeed represent core interests and there is a core interest for nearly every individual. You are a special interest! Based on your age, gender, profession, leisure activities, preferred hobbies, or locale you are most likely represented by some lobbyist supporting your special interest causes. Have you considered whether your lobbyist is more effective than lobbyists with an opposing position?
- Individual lobbyists may serve as an expert resource for other lobbying entities, staff drafters of legislation and others to provide accurate language for testimony or fact sheets in support of desired results. Brainstorming sessions among lobbyists desiring the same or similar outcomes are frequent and held in hallways, restaurants and even restrooms of government buildings.
- Professionals, such as Val, share knowledge in their area of expertise with legislators in order to educate lawmakers on the finer points of existing and potential laws ensuring (hopefully) favorable outcomes for the profession. No hour-long, ACPE-approved discourse works here – lobbyists must get their idea embedded in the elevator speech format regularly.
- Lobbying, first and foremost, is the art of cultivating and maintaining relationships. Those who have insulted, “called out”, or ignored legislators are later ineffective in pursuing their goals. Those who have assisted, maintained “face-saving” situations, and provided legislators well thought-out and cogent support from one session to the next with high integrity are respected and sought out for their views and opinions. They are the most effective. Their faces are recognized; their names remembered. They are asked to attend hearings by lawmakers and those relationships are valued and trusted.
- Since regulations define legislator gift restrictions, events such as “Pharmacists Day at the Capital” with free health-checks can creatively position constituents with representatives and senators. Once again the lobbyist has the opportunity for face-to-face time with lawmakers.
One of the interesting features of the past session in Colorado was the effectiveness of Val in applying a limit amount of time to lobby the several bills affecting pharmacists. As a practicing pharmacist AND a registered lobbyist, Val holds a unique position for our Colorado Valued Pharmacists.
We’re unique! A pharmacist-lobbyist offering profession-specific services and low-cost annual supporting memberships to advocate for your profession. Please support Val and Value Pharmacists now! Just click.