James Sept-Oct 2021 web - Flipbook - Page 4
Musings on Lobbyists & Our Various Topics
t continues to surprise me how many people I run
into, including some friends, who don’t know who
their elected representatives are, especially at the
state, county and city levels. After all, being a good citizen demands knowing who your elected representatives
are and letting them know where you stand on policy
issues that affect you and your wallet.
Of course, since most people don’t have the time
or money to visit these elected officials, somebody in
the early 1800s came up with the idea to have someone
represent them before these officials— a lobbyist! After
all, there’s nothing wrong with trying to influence a public
official by educating them about a policy issue— and if an
individual or organization can’t do it then it makes sense
to retain one or more lobbyists.
When it comes to Georgia’s General Assembly, on
most any issue there are lobbyists representing both
sides— and legislators listening to them is a good way for
them to evaluate the pros and cons. And lobbyists would
be wise to tell a public official, a client or anyone the truth
and not mislead them. (Lobbyists who don’t follow this
rule don’t last very long in the business.)
Any lobbyist will tell you that their profession is about
competence, reliable research, a strategic plan and credibility. They provide a valuable service, and they labor in
the political/business world at no cost to taxpayers! That’s
why James is the only Georgia media outlet that encourages readers, along with a small bipartisan group of advisors we contact, to vote online to rank these registered
lobbyists. Approximately 22,000 online ballots were cast
this year, with many lobbyists, their clients and friends
taking to social media to garner votes. (By the way, there
are hundreds of fine lobbyists who didn’t make the cut
because their votes simply fell short.)
James also features a “Hall of Fame” of veteran
Georgia lobbyists who have labored in the government
relations arena or who have engaged in Capitol lobbying.
They deserve a salute, so congratulations go to our 2021
inductees we selected based on recommendations from
their peers: Bryan Fiveash and Julianna McConnell.
COVID-19 hit Georgia in 2020. We’re proud of our summer
intern Charles Clay (a University of Georgia journalism
major) who did the research and explains its growth.
Agriculture is Georgia’s No. 1 industry, which is why we
present a special feature by staff writer Cindy Morley
who also performed wide-ranging research and gives a
comprehensive report. And we’re especially pleased that
famed Georgia artist Steve Penley took time out of his
busy schedule to paint this issue’s agriculture cover.
In addition to our regular spotlight on a Georgia CEO
and the usual business and political articles, we sometimes
focus on issues that are under-reported or ignored in the
Georgia media. In this context, the column by Bob and
Lynn Irvin is a “must-read” on how single-family zoning is
under attack in Georgia and elsewhere. Zoning protects all
homeowners, and this husband-and-wife team reports on
a zoning fight that involves “urban theoreticians” against
homeowners. And James occasionally reports on a Georgia
city, county or region. This time, we commissioned veteran
staff writer Baker Owens to tell us about the latest happenings in the beautiful North Georgia mountain country.
A final note. I got to visit my alma mater only one time
last year to watch the University of Georgia Bulldogs play
football— but didn’t get to explore the campus or talk
with President Jere Morehead. However, I’m making up
for that this year by asking President Morehead to share
with readers the success story that continues to unfold at
the state’s flagship university. UGA alums should particularly be interested in this interview.
DO YOU RECEIVE INSIDERADVANTAGE EMAILS?
Every now and then in James I’m compelled to give a
plug for our sister company’s online business and political news service at insideradvantage.com which focuses
exclusively on Georgia. Its reporters, as well as opinion
contributors from various parts of the political spectrum,
follow daily happenings with an eye toward giving readers “inside information” not generally found in the mainstream media. By the way, if you subscribe to InsiderAdvantage Georgia for a year to receive its daily emails, you
get a free James subscription!
ADDITIONAL NOTES ON THIS ISSUE
Many readers may not realize what a major player
the food delivery industry has become, especially since
PHIL KENT CEO & PUBLISHER
SEPTEMBER/ OCTOB E R 2021