Morgan: The Role of the Lobbyist
I often joke that I’ve had three jobs people have the worst opinions of: lawyer, politician and lobbyist. Generally, people have that negative opinion until they need the services of one. Lawyers and lobbyists, for example, are experts in their field who do their job on a daily basis to help their clients navigate a complex system.
With term limits, the lobbyist plays an important role. Lawmakers cannot be experts on every subject brought before them in the form of a bill. Lobbyists advocate for the causes they are experts in and help educate lawmakers on why a bill is good - or bad - for their constituents. Often these dedicated men and women provide much-needed research on complicated issues to assist legislators in making wise and informed decisions. As a former state representative, I can tell you that I appreciated the expertise of these advocates, even if I didn’t agree with their position.
Does your company have a legislative strategy? If not, why not? The actions of the legislature and the regulatory agencies in Oklahoma affect every single aspect of business today. With the new Legislature convening in February, now is the time to develop your strategy and get involved. We have seen what happens when the business community comes together with one voice: The landmark reforms to the Workers’ Compensation system came about because businesses cared and got involved. The result is an average reduction in premiums of over 20% in just two years. The halls of the Capitol are filled with people advocating for their particular cause or interest. Your voice, your interest and your goals may not be heard by the decision-makers unless you are involved.
Running a business is a lot of work and making it a success means you can’t be following everything the Legislature is doing on a daily basis. That’s where the State Chamber comes in. Business owners trust our team of lobbyists to be their voice at the state Capitol. More than a thousand businesses with over 380-thousand employees are members of the State Chamber. Are you?
We are proud to say we are a lobbying organization because we advocate for policies that will make Oklahoma the best place to start or expand a business and create more jobs. “We Mean Business” isn’t just a slogan for the State Chamber, it’s our mission.
This article was posted in The Journal Record as part of Fred Morgan's monthly opinion editorial.