In episode 45, Coffey talks with Cathy DeWitt about legislative advocacy. They discuss the role of professional lobbyists; how and why businesses should be involved in politics; the importance of being involved in the legislative process even when the legislature is out of session; how to develop relationships with legislators and staff; the impact of contributing to industry PACs; whether party affiliations are dealbreakers when reaching out to lawmakers; understanding which bills are really important to legislators; and the pressure on business owners and leaders to take political stands.
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About our Guest:
For over a decade, Cathy Stoebner DeWitt served as the Vice President of Governmental Affairs for the Texas Association of Business (TAB), the largest business advocacy group in the state of Texas.
Under her tenure, TAB’s lobby team was named as one of the powerful lobby teams in Texas. During the 86th Session DeWitt was added to Capitol Inside’s ‘Top 100 Hired Guns’ ranking.
DeWitt was a lobbyist and policy expert on business issues such as labor law, health care, criminal justice, privacy, immigration, non-subscription, tort reform, and workers’ compensation. Well known and respected at the Capitol, she is known for her honesty and direct approach to lobbying. At TAB, she was known to stick to her guns and to not negotiate on bad bills when it would add to the cost of doing business in Texas.
Her philosophy then and now is that legislation should build the economy and create more good paying jobs for all Texans, otherwise government should step out of the way and let private business thrive. DeWitt has testified on hundreds of bills and is well versed in the legislative process.
In addition to overseeing the advocacy team, DeWitt served as policy writer and media spokesperson for her issue areas. DeWitt also served as the Communications Director of the Association in which she managed issue advocacy campaigns and was spokesperson for the media on all business issues. Under her tenure, she created TAB’s Voting Record as well its recognition program for state lawmakers. DeWitt was published in numerous publications and oversaw a $1.5 million advocacy campaign to let the public know which legislators were making the grade for business in Texas.
Prior to joining the Association, she was an associate with the public relations firm, ROSS Communications, and she also served as Deputy Campaign Manager for Senator John Cornyn’s last Supreme Court Race.
Besides previously working at the Texas State Senate, DeWitt has worked for several other associations such Texas Civil Justice League and the Texas Medical Association.
Cathy DeWitt can be reached at https://www.schluetergroup.com.
About Mike Coffey:
Mike Coffey is an entrepreneur, human resources professional, licensed private investigator, and HR consultant.
In 1999, he founded Imperative, a background investigations firm helping risk-averse companies make well-informed decisions about the people they involve in their business.
Today, Imperative serves hundreds of businesses across the US and, through its PFC Caregiver & Household Screening brand, many more private estates, family offices, and personal service agencies.
Mike has been recognized as an Entrepreneur of Excellence and has twice been named HR Professional of the Year.
Additionally, Imperative is included in the prestigious Best Places to Work in Texas list and has been named the Texas Association of Business’ small business of the year.
Mike lives in Fort Worth with his very patient wife. He practices yoga and maintains a keto diet, about both of which he will gladly tell you way more than you want to know.
1. Understand the necessity that business leaders pay attention to legislative issues.
2. Determine when and how to be involved in political issues that affect business.
3. Learn how to navigate social media and public pressure on business political stands.