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Lobbying & Government Affairs

Public Affairs Counsel’s reputation in the lobbying profession is for providing its clients with tireless and strategic representation. PAC provides its clients with year-round coverage of Oregon’s legislative process and regulatory agencies. In providing lobbying services to clients, PAC follows a rigorous process which involves agenda setting, the development of issue-specific work plans and execution strategies.

Nobody works harder.

One of Public Affairs Counsel’s trademarks is its uniquely focused approach to floor votes on legislation. We never assume that any simple vote will go one way or another. We always construct “hard” vote counts so that we know how many votes are needed to prevail on any given issue. We don’t go into any issue without knowing, with great certainty, what the outcome is likely to be.

PAC provides the following services to all lobby clients:

Pre-Session Strategy Setting

  • Prior to the beginning of a legislative session, PAC works with its clients to identify issues of importance that are likely to be considered by the legislature. Detailed strategies are developed as to how these issues will be addressed.

Issue Identification

  • In addition to the pre-session strategy process and working with the client, PAC identifies all other issues of concern to the client that arise during the legislative session.

Procedure, Access and Diligence

  • In setting and executing strategies, PAC lobbyists put to work their complete insider’s knowledge of how the legislative process works. In order to achieve the best possible results, it is critical to influence the procedure. PAC also uses its access to legislators that it has developed over time to the continual advantage of its clients.

Legislative Review

  • On a daily basis, PAC reviews all legislation that is printed and distributed by the legislature and pulls all bills that relate to the client’s identified interests. These bills are then sent to the client for review and priority setting.

Meetings with Legislators

  • PAC lobbyists meet with members of the legislative leadership, committee chairs, and other members to identify issues of importance to the client and to seek support on those matters. These contacts are constantly occurring throughout session. PAC also works to put its clients in front of key legislators to build relationships and rapport.

Daily Scheduling

  • As the legislative schedule is developed each day, PAC lobbyists are assigned to cover hearings for clients. The firm possesses sufficient personnel resources to assure complete coverage each and every day.

Testimony to Legislative Committees

  • PAC coordinates testimony on client issues before legislative committees. In some instances, the client will be asked to provide testimony. In other cases, PAC lobbyists do the speaking.

Liaison with Other Interest Groups/Lobbyists

  • PAC maintains on-going relationships with lobbyists and organizations who share common interests and positions with clients. In this way, effective coalitions can be formed to advance or defeat particular issues.

Research Related to Legislative Issues

  • PAC conducts research into legislative issues as needed to fully prepare and advance issues of client interest. The firm’s extensive contacts in the private, political and government sectors assure that access is gained to the information that is needed for any particular issue.

Final Reporting of Legislative Actions

  • At the conclusion of each legislative session, PAC prepares a final in-depth report on all legislation which has been prioritized by the client. Of particular importance, PAC catalogs its activity for each client along with a determination of next steps, if necessary.

Monitoring of Interim Legislative Committees

  • PAC monitors the interim activities of all legislative committees and task forces that are dealing with issues of interest to clients. It also includes periodic reports to clients about the status of issues being discussed by these committees when the legislature is not in session.

Monitoring of Administrative Agencies

  • PAC monitors and actively participates, on an as needed basis, with state agencies that are in a position to affect client interests. In some instances this involves issues of agency rulemaking. In others it concerns influencing policy decisions through direct contact with agency administrators and staff.

Identification of Probable Legislative Issues

  • Throughout the interim, PAC strives to identify, ahead of others, issues of importance to a client that appear likely to be on the horizon. These issues come to the surface in the work of legislative interim committees, administrative agencies and through PAC’s extensive contacts in the political and governmental arenas.

Polling on Issues & Legislative Races

  • PAC owns a public opinion research component, The Nelson Report, and extensively polls issues and legislative races. Using this data, PAC is able to advise clients on political trends, political giving, issues, and election outcomes.

Political Insight

  • Oftentimes, clients make decisions based on where they believe the political winds are blowing. Very few firms have the ability to deliver the incisive political insight needed to make important decisions. Public Affairs Counsel is one of those firms.

Ballot Measure Campaign Management

Over the years, Public Affairs Counsel has built an impressive record in managing successful statewide and local ballot measure campaigns. These campaigns typically involve uphill battles over complex and emotional issues. Many have been won by narrow margins.

A successful ballot measure campaign has many elements that are critical to success – survey research (polling), issue research, campaign organization, grassroots and coalition development, editorial and public relations, paid media, and get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts.

PAC’s fundamental approach to managing campaigns is to gather the best information possible about issues through issue and survey research. PAC then utilizes this information to develop campaign strategies and themes that resonate with voters and executes multi-media communications and grassroots efforts that reach and move the electorate. These elements, coupled with hard work, are the basis for its success.

Public Affairs Counsel has a long track record of success in polling and managing state and local ballot. In all, PAC has managed 30 state and local measures – winning 24.

Association Management

Public Affairs Counsel provides association management services for a select group of clients. You can see PAC’s association clients here.  As a firm, we provide expertise and execution in the following areas:

Stakeholder engagement

Strategic Planning

  • Visioning
  • Bench marking
  • Best practices assessment

Integrated marketing

  • Strategic communications planning
  • Brand and messaging consistency
  • Content development

Organizational development

  • Capacity building
  • Revenue Growth
    • Membership and retention growth
    • Program development for maximizing revenue
    • Non-dues revenue development
  • Change management
  • Development of best practices
  • Process improvement
  • Process analysis

Management of government affairs

  • Public Affairs Counsel’s association management creates synergy for greater government affairs and advocacy reach through lobbying, polling, communications and public affairs.

Financial Management

Survey Research & Communications

In addition to our lobbying and government affairs services, Public Affairs Counsel has the ability through its polling firm and public relations services to change – or bolster – hearts and minds across issue areas.

PAC can determine what the public is thinking on your particular issue and, more specifically, what messages will work to counter or advance your interests. PAC has been doing this work for decades with outside help in ballot measure campaigns, but, with the arrival of David Reinhard as Director of Communications, Public Affairs Counsel specializes in developing and executing public relations campaigns for clients, particularly those with issues before the Legislature.

PAC is a believer in the importance of well-timed, strategically placed editorials in PAC’s – and the larger business community’s – lobby strategies. Sometimes, the best way to change opinions in the Legislature and the general public is to take the less direct approach of making your arguments through the third party in the Fourth Estate. The result: dozens of pro-active and defensive editorials that helped changed the debate for PAC clients.

PAC clients that have taken of advantage of our public relations services include the Oregon Farm Bureau and Northwest Food Processors Association, Oregonians for Balanced Climate Policy, Salmon for All, the Portland Development Commission, Oregonians for Renewable Energy, and the Umatilla Electric Cooperative.

The public relations campaign can work in conjunction with an industry or business’ lobby campaign alone or combined with a ballot measure/legislative lobbying effort. In either case, the client or the client’s lobbyists will be able to tell legislators how the public views their particular interest and how legislators should talk about – or not talk about – that issue in public.

PAC will work with the client to find and train messengers, hone data-driven messages, and create op-ed articles, news releases, one-pagers and back-up material. From talking points to fact sheets, issue briefs to press kits, PAC will create targeted communications tools that leave a lasting impression on the public and policy-shapers. PAC will also reach out to select editorial boards to arrange visits, as well as make targeted pitches to reporters.

If it’s necessary to reach the larger public in a legislative district or geographical area, PAC has also pioneered a proprietary personalized direct mail approach that breaks through today’s communications clutter with data-driven messages that recipients actually read.

PAC can also include a dynamic social media campaign to create grassroots support for the clients’ position. PAC services include web development and precise data-driven messaging for the site and electronic communications.

When it comes to polling and public relations – and the intersection of both – Public Affairs Counsel acts with relentless discipline and precision. And PAC can do all this, whether your business/industry faces a short-term threat or long-term challenge.

Doing all this under one roof has obvious advantages for PAC clients: Clients work with a team that not only knows how to lobby, but also knows how the public thinks on the client’s issue and how to message the issue to the public.

For more information on Public Affairs Counsel’s research firm, The Nelson Report, please visit www.NelsonReport.com

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