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  • Writer's pictureLauren Hooker

Should you retain a lobbyist in Arkansas?

When it comes to getting elected officials to not only hear you but take action, especially ones not in your or your company's specific district, there’s one proven way to get it done without wasting time and money: hire a lobbyist that is a trusted partner in the Arkansas political arena.

JCD Consulting has skilled professional lobbyists that have spent years networking and honing in on those skills to help your organization in ways you may not be able to. Our lobbyists have the experience and relationships that are required to find the best strategies to accomplish your goals. They have absolute critical knowledge about the legislative process while maintaining access to lawmakers who ultimately control the process. When you give us a brief explanation of what you need, we will use our years of experience and knowledge in the legislative field to help you navigate the system to reach your goals. If you need more persuasion, here are a few more reasons:

  • Outcomes: All lobbyists have heard at some point in their career, “What makes you more qualified to communicate with elected officials than me?” “Are elected officials not servants of the people?” First of all, it is not as easy as people think to set a meeting with an elected official, and we know this from experience. Legislators in Arkansas are considered part-time and do not have assigned staff. They are extremely busy, and as much as they would love to meet with everyone that makes the request, it is simply not possible. Not to mention, knowing what to say, the time frame to say it, and how to keep up with the process. Even more than that, if you are in the market for a lobbyist, you will have to convince not only your local representation but also others in order to get anything done. Here in Arkansas, there are 100 members in the House and 35 in the Senate. You will need at least a majority in each chamber to get anything done legislation-wise. Experienced lobbyists do not have these problems because it is their full-time job to make everything mentioned above happen for their clients. If the outcome is important, hire a lobbyist.

  • Saving Money: “Handling governmental relations internally is always an option.” Seldom does it make sense to take valuable time away from your business to expend time and energy building a political presence in Little Rock and around Arkansas with the singular purpose of influencing the result of legislation, regulatory process, or procurement issues? Experienced lobbyists know who, what, when, why, and how to navigate the complicated legislative process. They know the players, the procedures, and the history better than an in-house team. Lobbyists can undoubtedly amplify your efforts and assist you in creating partnerships that last for years to come. Hiring a full-time contract lobbyist can cost significantly less than a full-time employee. Your business likely outsources its IT security, general counsel, accounting, payroll or other services because it makes sense to go to the experts- government relations is no different.

  • Discernment: “We can handle this, my firm networks, and stays informed and on top of politics.” Politics are very fluid, and the mood can swing quickly at the Capitol, especially during the legislative session. Every day, and even minute by minute, it can be difficult to keep up. Again, experience, information, and knowledge are what make lobbyists invaluable in these settings because they are perpetually aware of legislation before being introduced in the General Assembly. Lobbyists are not only aware of what bills have passed or failed in the previous sessions, they know why. Knowing what to say is important, but having the discernment of what and when NOT to say something is critical.

  • Relationships: “I have a friend who knows a legislator and can help connect us.” That may be true, but remember that it takes way more than one legislator. Legislators listen to people they trust and in many cases, the most trusted people in the Capitol are lobbyists. “Wait- I thought lobbyists were untrustworthy.” Like any generic statement about a whole profession, people think this because of the association of politics and corruption with lobbying. One bad apple does not spoil the rest of us! Lobbyists keep up with the news and also provide a snapshot of the political landscape surrounding a particular issue. They maintain this information because of the relationships they have built with legislators and other key decision-makers. Our job as lobbyists is to put those relationships to work for our clients while also complying with all required ethics laws.

  • Reputation: “My company’s reputation and name recognition can stand on its own.” Even the biggest, most distinguishable companies have full-time in-house and contract lobbyists working for their interests. Experienced and successful businesses know when to get a governmental relations expert on their side. In some instances, businesses and associations will stake their reputations on their lobbyists' ability to deliver. In any case, successful lobbyists recognize that being ethical in each situation along with acting with integrity, not only creates trust between those involved but also shields their reputations.

There are many reasons to encourage you to look more closely at if a lobbyist in Arkansas is right for your business or association. Even the most connected, capable, skilled, and knowledgeable business leaders find it difficult to master the fast-paced political environment that is ever-changing. Let us do that for you- after all, it is our full-time job!

Having the support of a professional lobbying team can grow your business's name recognition in the Government sector and make success for your political interest far more likely. When you decide to take the step to hire a lobbyist, contact JCD Consulting.

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