Government Relations…Three Pieces of Advice

March 11, 2019

Hi everyone. Crayton Webb here, Owner and CEO of Sunwest Communications with Two Minutes of Advice from Sunwest – today on government relations. Of course politics is in the air. Candidates are already lining up for the 2020 Presidential race. Congress is always in the news on a daily basis, and this is the time of year that most state lawmakers go to the State Capitol – the State House – to meet for legislative sessions on the statewide level, typically from January, March, April, May. Of course, some –  like California – meet all year round. We often have clients who have a problem – a piece of legislation –  that’s filed that has an adverse effect on their business, and as Sunwest grows our Government Affairs practice, we have three pieces of advice. First, make friends when times are good. If you’re calling your state representative or your state senator after a bill has been filed that negatively impacts your business, it’s too late to build a relationship. So when the legislative session is not going on, that’s the time to build a relationship with lawmakers or just to go down to the State Capitol and visit your lawmaker to say hello and introduce yourself to them without asking for anything. Two, a lot of clients will say “Gosh, I don’t want to bother the lawmaker. I don’t have anything to tell them. I don’t want to raise my head up. And I certainly don’t want to ask for a favor.” But the fact is, is there could be a win-win. If you have a manufacturing facility – if you’ve had a business for a long time – gosh, you certainly pay taxes and maybe have employees. That’s a story that, with a tour of your facility, could be a win-win for the lawmaker, ‘cause they get to tell their constituents in their monthly newsletter, or letter, or e-newsletter that they came to visit you and you get to make a friend. And third is selfless lobbying. A lot of great companies have a corporate social responsibility portfolio or are giving back. How can you empower your employees – or even your leadership – to lobby for a cause that will help society and it has nothing to do with your bottom line? Another great way to make friends with your lawmakers when times are good and before you need them. And that’s Two Minutes of Advice today from Sunwest Communications