Ziad K Abdelnour on the Lobbying Process

The lobbying process, an extension of the right to be heard and an exercise in democracy, reflects the heart of our American system. Lobbying, a greater degree than most, depends on common sense and luck – a description that perhaps explains its engrossing attractions.

Some legislators prefer that the attention bestowed on them be varied: campaign funds, incidentals such as mailing lists, hosting friends, providing entree to persons and places – all manner of things small and not so small. Loyalty to legislators who support us is essential. It is usually legitimately be translated into endorsements, fund-raising, voter turnout, etc….

Integrity and professionalism are my opinion the cornerstones of all fruitful legislative activity; and it is a fact that there is no place where a person’s word is more important, and no place where personal integrity is more relied upon and more appreciated than in the Legislature. Hence, we are fully aware of the fact that as advocates we may influence — but we don’t vote. The legislator is the one who casts the vote – the only vote that counts –and they take a natural pride in having it be their vote. As advocates, our job is to really help legislators reach their decisions armed with the most reliable intelligence out there.

Having said that, our general policy is to reserve judgment about the people with whom we deal with until we have had sufficient personal experience to know them. We never censure those who oppose us ons almost impossible to come to agreement with an enemy. Compromise with an opponent is possible and often desirable. Reaching an agreement with a truly hostile antagonist is next to impossible. So unlike many lobbyists, we don’t hate our opponents as we strongly believe that to permit ourselves to hate someone , after all, to become to some degree his/her prisoner….is never acceptable in our dictionary.

As Senator William Kelley once said it so eloquently: “The best government consultant is one that has a good track record, actual experience in the way the government works, a willingness to get into the trenches on a client’s behalf, good contacts and credibility and a willingness to work toward not only resolving a current problem but devising a strategy to avoid future ones.”   ….and that’s how we opera specific matters – – today’s foe may become tomorrow’s colleague. The ability to see our opposition in realistic terms is essential to the achievement of workable legislative solutions as it its.