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Advocacy Skills Training: Arlington, Virginia November 16-17

Navigating through the convoluted world of state lawmaking and lobbying can be intricate and challenging – but what if you had a roadmap to guide you? Join Our Upcoming Workshops Fully Remote: Oct 30 – Nov 2 Influencing State Legislatures, & Regulatory Agencies & Managing Contract Lobbying Services Hybrid Workshop in Arlington, VA (In-person or remote): Nov 16 […]

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Yesterday’s Earthday’s Legacy on Today’s Politics

Lobbyists, lawmakers, and academics will better navigate contemporary environmental politics by considering this short lecture. “Earthrise to Earth Day(s)” demonstrates how the Earthrise photograph [below] helped inspire Earth Day – but also today’s culture wars, both through fractures on the American left, and with a path proposed but not taken by American evangelicals. Prof. Benjamin

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Habits of the Credible Lobbyist – Please Add Your Advice

The scourge of lobbying novices is “disrespect for the ill-formed,” 61 of whom were waiting for the Lobby School I would teach momentarily. “Habits of a Credible Lobbyist” was well-received but last-minute. For the good of our profession, please help make it better by adding your advice or deleting mine. The final Habits list will

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Texas’ “Credentials of Value” to Spur National Educational Renewal? – TBD

Texas State of Higher Education Address (2022)(“A”) and Building a Talent Strong Texas (2022)(“B”) emphasize credentials of value for post-secondary education: [A] goal for at least 60% of our entire working-age population to have a degree, certificate, or other credential of value by 2030… Texas is the first state to condition its goals for higher

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Why Senior Lobbyists Teach Lobbying – Robert Guyer, to Jumpstart New Lobbying Careers

My first job out of law school (1990) was lobbying, although I knew zero about it and had neither learning resources nor teachers. But over six years, by chairing a nationwide state lobbying campaign, lobbying Congress, several US states, Canada for another two years, and OECD in Helsinki, Mexico, and Washington, D.C., I learned something.

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Why Senior Lobbyists Teach Lobbying – Ron Phillips, to Make Our Lobbying World More Respected

Ron Phillips is a long-time, well-established Washington, D.C. contract lobbyist, expert in military defense legislation, and vice-president and Washington, D. C. representative for German defense manufacturer KMW. He has co-lectured Lobby School seminars on the interface between state and federal lobbying (Course 7) and a D.C. lobbyist’s insider’s view of advocacy. Ron has contributed greatly

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Why Senior Lobbyists Teach Lobbying – Chris Micheli, to Give Back to the Profession I Love

Chris Micheli is a many published author and co-author of Guide to Executive Branch Agency Rulemaking, the manual on lobbying agencies prior to the statutorily mandated APA public notice of rulemaking. Prior to APA notice, agencies revise draft rule language, iron out technical and political rule-delaying problems, consider impacts and responses from potentially regulated parties,

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Lobby School Minneapolis December 8-9, 2022

“Why would that (lawmaker, special interest, staff) (trade/exchange/barter) his or her (vote, endorsement, join our coalition) for what I am advocating?” Answering this question is fundamental to the planning and implementation of a successful advocacy campaign. Without the right answer, you are unlikely to get the vote, endorsement, coalition member, etc. So how do you

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Can Lobbyists and Clients Achieve More Together?

If all my past, present, and future clients took your training it would make me a more effective lobbyist and make my job 100x’s simpler. David R. Custin, President David R. Custin & Associates, Inc. Miami, Florida Our six lobbying practice manuals, 15 topical videos, and three skills development workshops derive from universalities required by the US

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“Ethics is its own reward.”* Paul Hallman

State Government Affairs professionals, as we all do in our professional and personal lives, make many momentary acquaintances of mutual convenience. Among many acquaintances, we also make a few real friends. Paul Hallman, principal (today retired), MultiState Associates, started professionally as an acquaintance of convenience – a consultant – but over the years proved himself

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US Supreme Court 2021-22 Term Invites More Lobbying

The 2021-22 US Supreme Court term will result in more citizen participation in setting public policy and thereby more work for lobbyists – federal, state, local, legislative and executive. Four rulings illustrate the court’s constitutional redirection vis-à-vis promoting lobbying[2]: Constitutional lineage[3],[4] shall prevail over judicial vogue.[5] Longevity of judicial vogue hallows not constitutionally bad Supreme

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Managing Contract Lobbying: Arlington, Virginia May 24, 2022

“How many of your employers evaluate you for job performance?,” I ask every Lobby School class. All hands raise. This question is followed by, “How many of your organizations evaluate your contract lobbyist for job performance?” Perhaps, 10 hands raised in the last 22 years. Generally, having 0-5 years of experience, most Lobby School students

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Senior Lobbyists Training New Lobbyists

Bringing Up a New Generation of Better Lobbyists. Thesis: conveying knowledge to better society realizes a basic public responsibility. Illustration: state constitutional obligations for free public education at taxpayer expense. Likewise, senior lobbyists passing our knowledge to the next generation of advocates will better novices’ professional lives, the process and quality of state lawmaking, and

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Three Skills Development State Lobbying Workshops, May 24-26 Arlington, VA

Lobby School workshops are bootcamp-style, applied-skills State Government Affairs professional training. Each session (3@4-8 hrs) is supported by 1 or more Insiders Talk operations manual(s) (5@100-488 pgs) and class workbooks (3@50-100 pgs). Written materials provide participants with greater and deeper practice details than can be presented in the classroom. Novices “jump-start” their careers.  Veterans fill

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Lobbyist Reconcile Conflicting Interdependent Worlds

Part of a lobbyist’s job is to mitigate political damage from impetuous, undisciplined principals acting independently of Government Affairs (GA). Below are examples of: 1) injuries to a lobbying campaign, 2) the principal’s behavior that caused the injury, and 3) lobbyist mitigation of the injury. In all cases, meaningful GA-C-suite communication could have avoided these

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How Good a Client Are You? A Job Performance Evaluation Instrument for In-house Lobbyists

About one-third of my students’ employers hire contract lobbyists. Students occasionally comment, “We pay our [expletive deleted] contract lobbyists too much [expletive deleted] money for the [expletive deleted] service we get.” When I was a novice in-house lobbyist I felt the same. But the root of our problem is simple: most of us were just

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Get to Know the Executive Agency Legislative Liaisons

Agencies compete in the legislature with other special interests, state and private, for money and authority. In most, but not all, cases agencies work though their own in-house lobbyists called legislative liaisons. The legislative liaison’s role can be an observer, analyst, or advocate as determined by his or her personality and expectations of management. Observers by

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Lobbyists advocate. That’s what we do. Seldom do professional advocates pick and choose their advocacy topics. The C-suite assigns issues to in-house lobbyists. Clients, especially long-term ones, assign issues to their contract lobbyists. In this blog I consider how lobbyists can maintain their sense of personal decency while promoting issues: 1) in which they do

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“Lobbying is a dance of seduction…”

  … our DC lobbyist advised regarding our industry association’s effort to get Congress to “occupy the field” in the regulation of our products. We wanted one federal program to preempt an expanding “patchwork” of inconsistent, conflicting, and difficult to meet state laws. Federal preemption was indispensable to our problem-solving. As chair, at the time

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Political Responses to Technical Facts (updated)

(Updated from December 6, 2021) Technical facts and data, indispensable to executive agencies, are often discounted in legislative policymaking. “Political Responses to Technical Facts” (v2) guides technical experts to become more aware of the political process. The legislative process is procedurally logical but often fact-based irrational. A lawmaker knowingly discounting my technical advice said, “In

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A Statute Is the Starting Gun, Not the Checkered Flag in Phase II of Capital Lobbying

“Most of the people in the state of Illinois, and I think this is true across the country, are much more affected in their daily lives by operation of the administrative and executive part of government than they are by 90 percent of the bills [of] the General Assembly.” Former Illinois Governor Dan Walker [1]

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Insiders Talk - How to Get and Keep Your First Lobbying Job

Advice for New Lobbyists: Are You Resolved to Protect Your Integrity?

If you don’t know what you are going to do before you run into a compromising situation, then you’ll probably make a bad decision. A long-term lobbying career is built upon reputation. Having worked for governments, corporations, and universities, I have found that legislatively enforced ethical expectations for honesty, accuracy, and credibility somewhat shield a

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Dogs and Rattlesnakes – Lawmakers and Lobbyists

Despite legislatures adopting sexual harassment policies and mandatory annual training, lobbyists should not presume sexual harassment will cease. Experience to date suggests sexual harassment training does little to change lawmaker behavior. In part this may be because the drivers for the behavior remain, a few of which include: legislatures remain overwhelmingly male; acquired situational narcissism;

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Dogs and Rattlesnakes

A dog trainer contacted me about “activists” trying to put him out of work by banning the use of rattlesnakes in his business. He teaches dogs in the western part of the US how to avoid getting killed by rattlesnakes. To teach the dogs to avoid rattlesnakes he needs rattlesnakes. However, using rattlesnakes is considered

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Animal Lovers

I spoke at an animal welfare conference. Several speakers gave interesting presentations. A researcher said that among millenials twice as many women as men research animal welfare on the web; among baby-boomers – four times as many women as men. A defense attorney said USDA wins in 100 percent of enforcement actions because they charge

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How Much Do Donors Get for Their $?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D NY) and Conor Lamb (D PA) both rejected PAC political contributions. Publix supermarkets announced it will make no more political contributions. Toyota will stop giving election objectors political donations. None of the corporations and associations for which I worked regularly made political campaign contributions. “And only about a third of the thousands of

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Sen. Sasse Describes the Why and Results Thereof of Elected Lawmakers

Sen. Sasse describes the why and results thereof of elected lawmakers defaulting to the courts and executive agencies. This surrender occurs in Washington, D.C. and state capitols. Insiders Talk: Winning with Lobbyists Professional edition and abbreviated in the Readers edition discusses this trend in great detail and how we lobbyists can work effectively within the current constitutionally distorted system.

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¿Cabildero o Lobista – Hay Diferencia?

A Peruvian lobbyist and I spoke about the similarities of lobbying in our respective countries. There are differences. Peru is unicameral while 49/50 US state legislatures are bicameral, Nebraska being unicameral. Political corruption there is rampant, as it is in almost all 3rd world countries. Legislative procedures vary. And international NGOs are attempting to force values upon

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