What are lobbyists?
As the FPA charter formally states, we “consult on matters of governmental policymaking, including the active advocacy for repeal, creation, or modification of laws”, which is a pretty standard description of what lobbyists do. The work of advocacy can include persuasion, debate, coaxing, reinforcing, convincing, pleading or even arguing, but it’s really no different from “selling” in countless examples of everyday commerce.
It almost never helps to anger a prospective customer.
In the case of FPA, our members are our customers in the sense that we’ve convinced them to hire us to do persuasive work on their behalf. But, elected legislators are also customers in the sense that they are the folks to whom we’re paid to sell our members’ ideas — and the politicians “buy” those ideas by voting on issues the way that you’d like.
The place of this work centers on where laws are made, and in our state that means the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka.
Individual businesses hire lobbyists to represent (advocate for) the best interests of their particular company. Associations hire lobbyists to promote the aims of whatever special interest has drawn and connected their supporters together — it could be their shared interest in fighting heart disease, poverty, high taxes, etc., or a shared interest in improving the circumstances or opportunities of psychiatrists, union workers, farmers, county clerks, electric utilities, school superintendents, etc.
It seems there really is an association for everything under the sun. And even though the Kansas legislature is in full session for usually about five months per year, the going annual rates for any professional lobbyist will amount to tens of thousands of dollars.
If you’d like to see who is representing who at the Kansas Statehouse, check out the online directory of lobbyist registrations that’s published by the Kansas Secretary of State.
A big thing that makes FPA different is that the uniting interest of our members is not any given issue, not the particular benefit of any given subsection the public; rather, it’s a philosophy for the whole operation of government. It’s a mode of thinking that can be applied to any public policy issue whatsoever.
And fortunately, ours is an affordable way for regular, everyday people to have a constant voice in the making of laws.
Frontier peace advisors