All posts by statesideassociates01

Stateside Associates is the largest state and local government affairs firm in the United States. For more than 25 years, the firm has worked with a wide variety of clients throughout the 50 states. The Stateside team, composed of 18 former state legislature staff members, 10 attorneys, and 11 issue managers, handles issue monitoring, retaining lobbyists, developing strategic plans, budgeting, working with Groups or integrating grasstops into their clients’ programs.

Support the Right Gubernatorial Candidate by Talking to Stateside Associates

As the Chief Executive Officer for a state, a governor wields a great deal of power. From selecting cabinet members to advocating particular stances for education, business, social programs and the environment, the governor can make a big impact on how state resources are used. If your organization could be a beneficiary of those resources, you would be wise to speak with Stateside Associates to understand how to position your organization with the governor. If your state is holding an election this November for the governor’s office, it would help you to know the positions of the candidates and how they could impact your interests.

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Stateside Associates is following the elections very closely since more than 2/3 of the states have the governor position in play. Eighty percent of those governors are seeking another term so these politicians are known quantities. That said, it is in your interest to talk to the people at Stateside to understand the stances of their opponents and to learn how those stances will affect your organization. You may decide that it is worthwhile to financially or otherwise support the incumbent or the opponent.

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In some races, such as that in Arkansas, prominent politicians are publicly supporting certain candidates. For example, Bill Clinton has appeared at a fundraiser to help candidate Mike Ross. Because of his lineage in the Carter family, candidate Jason Carter has the tacit endorsement of former president Jimmy Carter.

Also at stake this November are the offices of 31 attorneys general. The outcome of those elections will determine the degree of enforcement of a number of laws that could be relevant for businesses. Everything from discrimination to environmental law to pricing and monopolization rulings will be impacted.

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Talk to the experts at Stateside Associates to find out how you can support the politicians that will be of the greatest benefit to your organization and its constituents.

Stateside Associates Warns Not to Rest When Problematic Legislation Dies

You run state government relations for a trade association or a company. It is your job to make sure that legislative activities are neutral or positive to your stakeholders. Periodically, a legislator makes a push that appears to be harmful to your interests. Perhaps she calls for a study of a topic related to your business. Or, he pushes a proposal that is primarily symbolic but could be a problem down the road. As you consult with your contacts in the legislature and the governor’s office, you realize that the above activity will go nowhere and you are relieved. Now you can turn your attention to other issues. Or can you?

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Stateside Associates, a local and state government affairs firm, offers some cautions on ignoring proposals that go nowhere. Government tends to be slow-moving and conservative, which means that new ideas take a while to develop into mainstream movements. The study mentioned above that was not funded may have planted an idea in the mind of an influential legislator. It is important to stay ahead of the curve on these kinds of issues. Constance Campenella, the President and CEO of Stateside Associates offers the following recommendations:

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  1. Consider the source of the policy recommendation. Is it a well-known organization that has demonstrated legislative success in the past? If so, get out in front of the issue.’
  2. Is the sponsor in the legislature serious and successful as a lawmaker? If so, his/her reputation could enable the legislation to move forward.
  3. Has the legislature changed in leadership or in membership so that more members now lean towards the initiative? If so, that will make your job more difficult.
  4. Is the topic popular on social media or among legislators? If yes, it means that more lawmakers could be receptive to the initiative.
  5. Is traditional media buzzing about the topic and supportive of the legislation? If so, you need to address this support.

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If you find the above issues happening in the legislature, give Stateside Associates a call for some recommendations.

Stateside Associates Helps You Evaluate the Performance of a Lobbyist

As an executive in a trade association or in a company, you know the importance of staying in touch with and influencing state government policy for your stakeholders. The decisions of state lawmakers can have a huge impact on your firm’s profits, costs and efficiencies. In fact, your government relations department is probably spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in this effort already. You may have hired lobbyists or consultants to help you educate and advocate for the interests of your company and stakeholders; this would be a fiduciary obligation to your shareholders. That said, how do you know if these lobbyists and consultants are doing a good job? What kind of evaluation process do you have in place to make sure that your money is spent in the best manner?

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The 2013 State Government Relations Benchmarking Report found that more than half of corporations and nearly three-quarters of associations do not have a formal evaluation process for their contract lobbyists and consultants. Such a void is astounding considering that corporations spend over 25% of operating income on these contractors.

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If your organization is lacking an evaluation process, it would behoove you to contact Stateside Associates. Stateside is a consulting firm specializing in state and local government affairs, but its experienced and expert staff members will bring best practices to help your organization evaluate contractor performance. Stateside Associates staff will help you develop and execute an audit of your contractor’s activities. They will explain that success must be measured by more than whether a targeted bill passed or was quashed.

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While outcome in the legislature is one reason to hire a contractor, it is not the only reason. Process is important, too. In what activities did the contractor engage to achieve the outcome? Did it put your organization in jeopardy for future influence?

Ask the experts at Stateside Associates about their work in consultant and lobbyist evaluation.

Meeting the Next Policy Makers

Meeting the Next Policy Makers

Instead of browsing through the countless news outlets online, listening to political commentary on the radio or via streaming, or even turning on the television to try and decipher the political leanings of a network, how about meeting the policy makers themselves to get a firsthand understanding of how they see the future? Sounds logical enough, yes? Despite the various forms of communication we have at our disposal today, candidates are oftentimes conveyed as intangible, or their message is simply misconstrued by the public. Either way, there are always different means in which political candidates can reach out to the public better, and in no other form is it more effective than to see them in person and hear policies straight from the source.

Today, the highly respected Stateside Associates is helping bring candidates closer to their constituents. In certain states, companies are restricted from making contributions to the political candidate of their liking. To accommodate clients who fall under these guidelines, Stateside can help organize a “Meet and Greet” between political up-and-comers and company staff. This way, potential voters have an opportunity to hear a clear-cut definition of where candidates stand in their policies and how their decisions could affect voters. In addition, those aspiring to higher office have the chance to reach out to more people and get their voice readily heard. It truly is a win-win situation for everyone involved. And the best part is, there is little chance of misinterpretation of any kind. Transparency is right there, leaving the audience with nothing left to do but make their own choice on Election Day.

To learn more about Stateside Associates and how it has become the largest state and local government affairs firm in operation today, visit their website to get a more thorough understanding of its services and how they could shape your decision in the voting booth.

 

 

 

The Digital Business Card – Using Social Media as Your Introduction

The ubiquity of social media has made traditional professional introductions almost archaic. Although most social networks were implemented for personal social purposes, it is expected and even mandatory that we communicate with our associates via Facebook and Twitter; not just LinkedIn. Unfortunately, not every organization has the wherewithal to utilize social media in an effective manner, and failure to employ a diverse array of communications tools can have devastating effects on the ability to establish a noteworthy online presence. For governmental entities in particular, this oversight could effectively end careers.

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It isn’t uncommon that organizations are often slow to embrace technological innovations. “Workers were intimidated by email when it first hit the office scene,” says Stateside Associates Social Media Manager Graham Grossman. “How would companies use it? How would professionals adapt to using the new medium? In hindsight, how could we ever have competed in the marketplace without it?”

Using social media resources to strengthen or even initiate public relations campaigns must not be undertaken lightly; an organization’s online presence must be managed with the same level of sophistication and dedication as any large-scale initiative. Nothing is more precious to any organization than its public perception, and social media gives public and private sector enterprises the opportunity to broadcast messages instantly and efficiently.

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How can an organization hone its social media skills? By using a dedicated social media specialist as a resource, for one. While it may seem simple enough to post updates to Twitter, Facebook et al, there must be value attached to those posts. Many a public figure has diminished his or her online significance by burying essential communications in a sea of worthless updates.

Next, get the entire organization involved. Linking every team member to the organization’s social network is essential in expanding communications through every possible channel. Additionally, a robust organizational presence helps to establish the image of company unity.

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“The way we talk about and use social media is much the same as the way we once thought of business cards as granting us access,” says Grossman.“We as government relations pros should understand it and use it to our benefit.”

Keeping Funding Possibilities Alive by Staying Social Media Savvy

Social media outlets have provided political figures and affiliated partisan organizations with efficient resources for delivering relevant and oftentimes controversial messages to an always receptive public. The posts, if left in tact, provide a useful historic policy and opinion thread, which could work either to the benefit or detriment of the poster in terms of potential corporate allies and contributors.

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The days of political and social policy ambiguity are largely over for corporations. Every brand must have an identity, and a brand identity isn’t complete without at least a hint of social perspective. However, if a corporate entity chooses to affiliate itself with a particular political figure, piece of legislation, political party or ideology, it would be well advised to investigate that political or social body’s history of public proclamations first. Now that we have Twitter and Facebook, there are countless messages that can be harvested in order to gauge a public servant’s and/or think tank’s views as public sentiment shifts and time progresses. A reputable Issues Management and Legislative Monitoring firm will be able to dig up dirt easily, if it exists.

“I predict that underestimating the impact of social media on state government relations is going to be the downfall of many,” says Constance Campanella, President and CEO of Stateside Associates, a local and state governmental affairs consultancy. “The speed, the penetration, the ability to screw up on a grand scale, instantly, is going to take some time to adjust to. But, adjust we must.”

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While it may be possible to delete regrettable Twitter posts immediately, thanks to the website Politwoops, this isn’t entirely an option for politicians. Even though the post might have been officially removed from Twitter, the eagle-eyed administrators at Politwoops nonetheless manage to resurrect it and post it on their website for the world to scrutinize, sometimes years later – even if the post was up no longer than a few seconds.

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Proactive social media monitoring on the part of state and local officials is imperative – there may be no escaping the reverberation of old, unfortunate posts. Says Stateside Associates President Constance Campanella, “In the olden days – pre-2013 – Marketing and Communications folks kept tabs on social media. But, this is now a job for government relations since the legislators themselves are doing the tweeting and posting.”

Stateside Associates Will Help You with Government Affairs Needs

Perhaps you run the state PTA or you are advocating for children on a state level. You understand the importance of influencing legislators or the governor, or organizations that can make a difference for your group. Unfortunately, you do not have experience in this area nor do you have the time to monitor activities on the state level. Furthermore, you do not know which events are important to attend or which legislators can have the biggest impact on your advocacy success. You need help. Ideally, you are looking for a lobbying-type of organization that works at the state and local level and has a record of success. You might look into a government affairs firm, such as Stateside Associates.

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A government affairs firm is not a lobbying organization. Rather, it provides advice and guidance on how best to get your organization’s concerns heard at the state or local level and to understand which legislators are involved in activities that impact your agency or company. For example, clients have engaged Stateside Associates to monitor social and other media for statements by government officials about client interests. The firm has created websites for clients to promote the interests of that client, while educating constituents and interacting with them. Other clients have asked them to provide the inside, back room stories of legislative wrangling that impacts those clients’ interests.

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Generally, in government affairs as in so much of life, forewarned is forearmed. If your agency or association receives information from a firm like Stateside Associates, you know who is on your side and who needs influence and persuasion to change sides. You know where to spend lobbying dollars and the best ways to promote your group’s interests. Most state-level groups can benefit from the help of government affairs firms. It would be in your interest to contact one for an informational meeting.

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