As I’ve stated in past blog posts, I belong to the Greater Chamber of Commerce here in San Antonio, and as a member, I participate in lobbying efforts during our legislative sessions. Texas operates it’s legislature on a biennial basis, meaning that it meets every two years. Personally I feel that this needs to change due to our modern-day speed of change in our economy and our society, but since this is what is in place, we work within the current system. Our team lobbies for small business, small minority business, women-owned business as well as veteran-owned business at the state level. Although Frontline works predominantly for the Federal government, there is quite a bit of overlap between State and Federal; thus, I take interest in both entities.
This last week was a very productive session which included seven different meetings with elected officials in the Senate and our state House. We visited with the San Antonio-Bexar County delegation as well as surrounding counties and spent the day walking around the capital and participating in scheduled meetings. I served as team leader for our eight member group and we discussed issues such as energy and sustainable energy, both of which affect our community. Our team included members from both large industrial size businesses as well as those from small businesses, such as myself.
There are both direct and indirect effects on my business stemming from our lobbying efforts. First, elected officials are able to put a face to a name in associating me with my company or a specific area of interest, that area being energy and sustainable energy issues. Secondly and less directly, our lobbying efforts represent our community from a focused and prepared agenda. Our group is comprised mainly of members from the two largest chambers in San Antonio, the Greater Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
How to Become Involved in Lobbying Efforts
Preparation for this begins with heavy reliance on our chamber staff, who facilitate our meetings and get us added to the specific calendars of our elected officials. This is planned months in advance and was actually being discussed since last year. Of course, legislators are literally bombarded by lobbyists, but those are mostly paid lobbyists who represent particular interests. Our group includes a community-wide agenda which includes many interests. Our community just happens to own both the water and electrical utilities in our area; thus, my primary focus was on energy and sustainability issues.
An Open Invitation
If anyone is interested in getting started in lobbying efforts or has questions concerning becoming involved in your local chamber, please contact me here