Panelists talk about GR strategies and outlook for action at CEO Update forum
Associations can’t afford to wait and see whether the Republican-controlled Congress and the new Trump administration can deliver on their promises, according to a panel of advocacy experts at CEO Update Live. Instead, associations need to “double down” by hiring the best people at the state and federal levels, and by amping up their communications and education strategies.
Tim Pawlenty, CEO of Financial Services Roundtable and former governor of Minnesota, said there’s “reason for optimism” that health care and tax overhaul bills will get passed in some form between now and the 2018 midterm elections, “but beyond that, the legislative pathway gets very difficult.”
Likewise, the long federal rulemaking process means it will be 2018, maybe even “the back end of 2018” before substantive regulatory changes take effect, Pawlenty said.
Pawlenty was joined at the May 25 forum by Steve Caldeira, CEO of the Consumer Specialty Products Association; and Ivan Adler, principal at The McCormick Group, who specializes in recruiting lobbyists.
Adler said some associations had held off hiring or making other decisions before seeing who would win in November. Continuing to wait and see in the face of all the current uncertainty is a mistake, he said.
“You really need to dig your well before you’re thirsty,” Adler said. “You have to have the resources, you have to have the strategy. … It gets much more expensive if you have to start from scratch to go ahead and play defense.”
With so much happening outside of Washington these days, associations need to hire people for state-level advocacy positions who are as highly qualified as their federal counterparts, Adler said.
Associations need to keep doing what they’re doing, but better and more effectively, Caldeira said. He just added a social media person to his communications team.
Caldeira said that with all the “chaos that’s happening,” it’s particularly important to educate, mobilize and then activate your association’s members.
“This is uncharted waters for all of us. Let’s just face it.” Caldeira said. “You’ve got to double down to make sure you have all the pieces in place. We don’t know what the next tweet’s going to say or what the next industry is that could be affected by that tweet.”