I know that most people likely feel this way in their jobs, but for those unfamiliar with the work of a multi-client lobbyist, I often draw a parallel between lobbying and juggling. While you can plan out your day in advance, you just never know how the day will unfold or what office of the Capitol you’ll find yourself in. Clients’ urgent needs and actions by legislators or the governor’s office can move us away from our planned path. Even on more planned-out days, I often find myself juggling different tasks, roles, and objectives for my clients. There is a comfort with the routine of session days – held most Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays throughout the year. A typical session day starts early with attending a fundraiser or two. These are a great way to kick off the day, as you pick up many tidbits of information on how the day might unfold.
Next, we’re usually off to one or more of the 20 House committees that meet at a set time and day each week. (House committee meetings occur in the morning prior to session). At committee we’re monitoring issues of importance to clients, helping them prepare for their testimony, or connecting with legislators. Being present is important and it’s what our clients expect of us. Also, the posted committee agenda only tells part of the story. Inevitably, a legislator or someone testifying will ask a question or raise a point that is important for our clients to be made aware of. Serving as our client’s eyes, ears and voice is why we’re always present.
There’s usually a lunchtime fundraiser mid-day or a lunch and conversation at the office with legislators. With a hard deadline for House Session or Senate Committees, we’re then off – back to the Capitol or to a Senate committee (Senate session is held in the morning with many committees occurring in the afternoon.)
While it would be nice to have a clone to cover the multitude of meetings, MLC has a great team of lobbyists who always have each other’s backs. Each day we have at least one lobbyist standing on the marble tiles right outside each chamber. Again, being present creates the opportunity for us to personally interact with legislators and staff, which is critical for us to share or pick up information.
As the session day progresses, it leads to evening events – more fundraisers, social events, and dinners. While the day is full of socializing, it’s all about delivering value to our clients and providing the best direction and recommendations to elected officials so they have the tools to make the best decisions possible.
Juggling, it’s all part of the day in the life of a lobbyist.