Part 1 of this blog referred to hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s self-proclaimed reason for success: his ability to “skate to where the puck is going to be” better than others. We at Pugliese Associates have that same proactive ability to move to where the state government puck will be so that our clients always have the best shot at success.
For lobbyists, success is often tied to the ability to predict where the “political puck” is heading. That means coupling relationships with policymakers to real-time analysis of information streaming from state government. Pugliese Associates and our government affairs operation rely on Legislative Analyst Megan Milford’s keen expertise to provide timely, refined and relevant information from a broad range of data sources.
But what happens when, despite our best efforts, the puck doesn’t head in the anticipated direction? Worse still, what happens if the opposing team gains control of the puck? Political work is not unlike the rough and tumble world of ice hockey and, like Wayne Gretzky, sometimes we have to find new ways to regain control of the political puck.
In the world of lobbying, that means putting our combined relationships and knowledge to work to find alternative routes forward when traditional ones become blocked. Below is just one example.
ROCCO PUGLIESE: “IF YOU CAN’T GET IN THE FRONT DOOR, TRY THE SIDE DOOR, BACK WINDOW, OR CHIMNEY.”
Recently, Pugliese lobbyists helped to introduce a client’s reform legislation in both the House and Senate and succeeded in advancing both bills through the traditional legislative process, including committee hearings and affirmative committee votes. However, due to exceptionally strong interest group opposition, both bills got held up in the final leg of their respective chambers, and it was increasingly clear that getting them positioned for floor votes would be next to impossible.
Rather than tell the client, “We’ve done all we can,” the Pugliese team decided to find another way forward and regained control of the puck. That’s where Megan’s expertise came into play.
Megan set to work scanning House bills to determine which could be a viable legislative vehicle for an amendment. We needed to find a bill that was both germane (sufficiently similar subject matter) and otherwise non-controversial so as to not attract the attention of our opponents. Our plan was to not only keep our client’s legislation alive (regaining control of the puck), but to “skate even faster to the goal” by eliminating five or more steps in the legislative process.
Megan quickly identified a number of bills which fit these requirements. We reviewed all of them with our client. After careful consideration of the politics of each bill, one was chosen which fit the criterion required.
During the ensuing weeks, the Pugliese team secured unanimous passage of this bill in the House and it crossed chambers into the Senate. Concurrent to our efforts in the House, our lobbying team had already been working in the Senate to ensure the bill would be referred to a friendly committee and to prepare the amendment language for use in that committee. Once the bill was safely assigned to the appropriate Senate committee, our client’s reform language was amended into it within a matter of weeks and today it continues toward a floor vote.
Due to Megan’s keen abilities and swift assists to the lobbying team, we have regained control of the puck for our client. We not only offered our client an alternative opportunity at success but also leveraged more pressure on the opposition to negotiate. While our original bills were still five or more steps away from the Governor’s desk and not moving, the new bill is now only three votes away from the same and moving forward.
Pugliese Associates has 36 years of disciplined and successful government affairs work like this on behalf of our clients. We understand the value of real-time information better than most, and with veteran experts such as Megan, Pugliese always plays to “where the puck is going to be” in the government affairs rink of Pennsylvania’s capital.
We work relentlessly to give our clients their best shot at success.