James.qxp Sept Oct 2018 web (2) - Page 4



P U B L I S H E R’S M E S S A G E
Georgia’s Lobbyists. . .and Our Diverse Columnists
When the General Assembly convenes every
January and bills are introduced, the spotlight especially shines on Georgia’s lobbyists and governmental
affairs rms representing clients who have an interest
in whether those bills pass, fail or are amended in certain ways. But also remember that legions of Georgia’s
registered lobbyists ply their trade all year long.
Lobbyists provide the grease that helps turn the
wheels of governance regarding public policy issues.
That’s why James annually encourages readers interested in various policy issues to recognize and rank
these hard-working Georgians, many of whom spend
countless hours doing research and presenting their
case before legislators and the public.
A record 9,000-plus ballots were submitted— and
James is the only Georgia media outlet that provides a
Top Lobbyists listing. It’s interesting that a growing
number who are listed effectively utilized social media
to garner votes. At the same time, we’d be remiss if we
didn’t recognize that there are many ne lobbyists
who didn’t make the cut because their votes came up
short or because they didn’t alert friends and colleagues to participate in our annual balloting. So we
hope for even greater participation next year.
By the way, James also features a “Hall of Fame” for
longtime professionals who have labored in the government affairs arena. Check out this year’s new inductees!
Special Notes on This Issue
A trend toward greater transparency is being felt in
the world of lobbying because of a few bad actors. The
Atlanta City Council, for example, is considering legislation to force lobbyists to clearly identify themselves
and the companies they represent. Proponents say this
would strengthen ethics and promote transparency—
an initiative prompted by an ongoing federal
bribery/contracting investigation. In this context, veteran journalist John Sugg’s piece on Atlanta city hall
corruption is a must-read.
4
JAMES
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018
Ethics watchdogs, regulators and prosecutors
have increasingly begun to scrutinize those who seek
to inuence the purchase of goods and services by
state and local governments. After all, citizens have a
right to know what favors and contributions are lavished on those with political power to award public
contracts by those who seek to win them. Dentons
attorneys Ben Keane and Robert Sills address this
issue— and others— in an instructive column.
Bryan Tyson writes that to advance a candidate or
urge people to vote against an individual, a Georgia
independent committee can spend an unlimited
amount of money in support of that effort— as long
as you disclose donors and avoid coordination with
the campaigns. Our own Matt Towery shares thoughts
on Georgia’s gubernatorial campaign. And former
state legislator Larry Walker goes back in his inimitable “Wayback Machine” to the 1970s about a new
lieutenant governor who met with initial resistance
from the state Senate he was to preside over. The Sage
from Perry then wonders how state senators will react
after November’s election when a new lieutenant governor is sworn in who isn’t “one of them.”
Other column topics range from the economic
impact of The Battery Atlanta in Cobb County to education, transit, healthcare, the oyster industry and the
contributions of Georgia’s philanthropic community.
Also, our CEO Spotlight shines on Egbert Perry— the
epitome of an immigrant who loves this country,
worked to pursue the American dream and is enjoying
immense success.
We hope you enjoy this issue and please email us
with any comments.
PHIL KENT CEO & PUBLISHER

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