The arrest of New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D) has shaken the Albany Capitol building and its occupants to their snow boots. Whether you like him, fear him, despise him or respect him – a leadership change of this magnitude presents both opportunities and threats to the lobbyist corps – and their clients.
Some will benefit.
Some will suffer.
All will have to find their new balance as a hobbled Speaker or new Speaker wields the gavel.
And, while the drama and gossip are interesting, we have to stay focused on the fundamentals and make sure that our lobbyists do likewise.
Five questions you should ask your New York State lobbyist today:
- How important is Speaker Silver to our legislative effort?
- Are we better or worse off with BLANK? Fill in the blank with each potential new Speaker.
- Tell me about your relationship and experience with each BLANK (see above).
- What downstream changes will occur, i.e. Committee chairmanships?
- What more can you tell me? Even if you think it is more than I need to know – because I want to understand.
Change is a given in our world of state government relations and some members of the New York State lobbyist corps are sweating now – the ones who built their book on their relationship to “Shelly.”
For others, especially those who worked hard at maintaining a wide variety of relationships in the Assembly, this is the path through and upward.
Which lobbyist do you have?