When most people think of lobbying, they picture someone operating behind the scenes to influence government policies and decisions. However, the role is more along the lines of educating, as well as being educated on the issues for which I am advocating. Michigan’s Legislature meets Tuesday through Thursday, but on non-session days how does that education role come into play?
- I’ll use this time to reach out to clients with either an impromptu call or participate in regularly scheduled calls or virtual meetings. We’ll go through the upcoming week’s activities or debrief from the previous week. This is important because the legislature moves at its own pace. There are times when there is a lot of activity and others when things move at a slower pace, either way, I want to make sure I’m in sync with clients, and in turn, we are in sync with the legislature.
- Non-session days also provide an opportunity to educate legislators and staff. One of the best opportunities to do this is taking a legislator to a tour, be that a manufacturing facility or a potato field. These tours are hands-on sessions that provide the story behind the legislation.
- I also use these days to reach out to staff and grab coffee or lunch. Legislative staff are the backbone of the legislature and are essential for getting legislation moving. I will also take these opportunities to learn about upcoming business opportunities within the departments. Building these relationships helps me do my job better, but also builds a level of trust that is important in any relationship and key to success in Lansing.
A day in the life of a lobbyist is a whirlwind of meetings, research, and relationship-building. It’s a profession that requires a deep understanding of the legislative process, knowledge of a variety of issues, and a passion for advocating on behalf of our clients.