When two hill town girls from Western Massachusetts get together in Florida – they have fun. Jane Swift and I go way back to our roots in Western Mass, to small town politics, to shared values and commitment to social, racial and economic justice as we pursued our separate careers in the public policy arena in the Massachusetts State House. We were – still are– Red Sox fans and working Moms who sometimes brought our children into the State House to participate in activities, which were mostly boring for them. Jane was a (ahem) Republican Lt. Governor and Governor and I was a (ahem) paid lobbyist for a number of advocacy groups who wanted to expand services for the poor, the elderly and the disabled.
Now while Massachusetts Republicans are still relatively open to “investing” additional resources (tax payers money) in programs that help the “deserving” poor, they usually draw the line at new taxes unless the tax is imposed on a “sinful” product and the revenue is targeted to sympathetic populations. Best example is the first victory to raise tobacco tax to fund children’s health care in 1996. That hard won campaign was lead by a remarkable coalition of nontraditional partners led by the anti tobacco activists from the American Cancer Society and the consumer health advocacy organization Health Care for All, the medical Society, the Hospital Association among others. It was grand campaign — you can find a lot of good articles via Google.
Anyway, Jane now is in Tampa part time serving as Executive Chair of Ultimaite Medical Academy an on line program training, supporting and placing a diverse population of people – many low income – for careers in health care in 20 states. As you can imagine there are a lot of law and regulations around workforce programs and UMA devotes a lot of internal resources to navigate them all.
Since Jane understands the organizing principles of Lobbying, also apply regulatory agencies and private organizations that serve the same population, she bought everybody in her new outreach staff group the 4th Edition and I spent a delightful hour talking to a room full of people whose job it is to help adult students people get ready for a real jobs in the health care field.
Mostly we focused on the concept of the Hero Opportunity and the Three Rules of Lobbying from Introduction which you can find Here.