Thursday, February 13, 2014

lobbying, yeah man

If you remember from a few weeks back, I mentioned me heading down to the state capitol for some legislative action.

Well, as promised, here is that wrap-up.

It all started when the CEO of my company asked me to attend the Rally in the Valley, put on by three (3) neighboring chambers of commerce here in northwestern Wisconsin. Not being able to attend, she requested my presence in her stead.

I thought it would be more informational, listening to legislators talk about issues, with us having the opportunity to pose questions. Really the only time that scenario played out was when the Governor spoke to us at lunch. And that was sans the cr00sh question and answer sesh. Note that the lunch food was absolutely horrible.

But the rest of the day - the almost three hour bus ride down, the introduction, the legislator meetings, the breakout sessions, and the reception were all mostly great.

Let's take it from the top.

Got there at about ten, met with the two other members of my group, and got debriefed on the issues we would be covering at each of the five preset appointments with state politicians. All agreed that dividing up the issues so that each of us would be covering the same thing for each meeting would be a good idea. And this is when we realized it was going to be straight up lobbying.

Anyway, the issue left for me was fracking, obviously a hot button issue. My position was supposed to be, and is, when done carefully and right, it's a boon for the area. My experience with area companies of this ilk has been overwhelmingly positive. Whether that is due to necessity or high character doesn't really matter.

Both legislators that were actually there (Jerry Petrowski and Thomas Larson) were receptive and engaged, as were the aids/staff of the other three. A lot of questions on all of the issues, ranging from education/lowering the skills gap, keep the environment clean(er), and regulation reform.

It was cool to meet my group - one is the CEO of a neighboring city chamber of commerce,  and the other is a dean at the local technical college. Both very nice, very bright people. While they may have been put off by my unfancy title, they didn't show it.

After the meetings was a breakout session, hosted by a WI economic council of sorts. Basically they just introduced the new employees and had each explain their roles. Total snoozer. One of them was smiling at me the whole time, and when she introduced herself, instead of chatting, I advised her to stop by the reception cause I needed to run and get a crink. She was kinda good looking, but what pleased me most is a fellow Wisconsinite appreciating a well-dressed dude with a great haircut. It doesn't happen that much around here.

The reception was great, and very surprisingly so was the food. What a great spread though. Free beers may have made things taste better. Met a couple cool dudes, talked to a few lawmakers, kind of funny to hear them drop the occasional f-bomb.

By 7pm we were loading up the bus, and somebody popped in 42, the movie about Jackie Robinson. Not a lot offends me, but in the context of the movie, the n-bomb droppage was disgusting. Dude just wants to play baseball.

Got home by 10:30, had some whiskey and called it a night.

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