What was your first job?
Construction laborer for a home builder in my hometown of
What is your favorite part of your job?
I enjoy the contest of ideas in the media, political campaigns and among policymakers. Lobbying and public affairs consulting is probably the only profession that allows me to indulge my passion for history, politics and competition while still being able to pay the bills.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
Staying current on all of the developments in the issue areas I need to track for current clients as well as the ones I need to track for future clients I’d like to bring on. There is so much information available. It is a real art to know how to best convey the relevant information to policymakers or to the public through the media.
There’s a reason “special interests” are called special; everybody’s issue or concern is special to them. Lobbyists are an essential part of our democratic process. They become more necessary the more government interferes in the free market and private matters. If reformers want to reduce the influence of lobbyists, they should start with loosening government’s regulatory grip and halting its ambitions of social engineering through the tax code.
Any tips on handling pushy press people?
You can never forget that, ultimately, reporters are merely a conduit to reaching a larger audience for your message. “Pushy” or not, the media have a job to do and it’s my responsibility to offer them accurate, timely and concise information from my side of the issue. The more successful I am at accomplishing that, the more productive and positive my relationship will be with the media.
As a student of history and politics, who do you see as history’s best politician, greatest communicator and most inspirational leader?
History’s best pure politician was probably Augustus, the first emperor of
Not too long ago, you moved from working for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry to heading up your own firm. What advice would you give to someone who wants to do the same?
Moving from a member/association bearing at the Arizona Chamber to a client/consultant approach now is natural in some ways and wholly unnatural in others. I am fortunate to partner with a dynamic PR and advertising firm called PRfect Media, headed by
What best prepared you for being a political consultant?
I truly enjoy the ins-and-outs of public policy development and the messy, though always fascinating, politics that accompany it. I went to college at the
Any other advice or thoughts?
I’ve come to realize that those who believe “the political is personal” are the ones who make life frustrating. On the Right and Left, the people who conflate the two are usually the most extreme, unpersuasive and, on a personal level, the most angry and unhappy. My encounter with colon cancer, radiation treatments and chemotherapy in 2006 taught me that what happens in politics is not nearly as important as what happens in your home and with your family and friends. The challenge is to stay engaged with our political and civic institutions so “the political is personal” crowd doesn’t monopolize the debate.