ASID Icon - Summer 2013 - (Page 49)
GET TO KNOW WHAT LOBBYISTS CAN DO FOR YOU/
WHAT IS THE ﬁrst thought that comes to mind when you think of a lobbyist? You may be surprised that most
people’s answer is probably not that close to what a government affairs professional, or lobbyist, actually does.
While those who attended the ASID Legislative Symposium in Dallas earlier this year learned what “lobbying”
is and the role of the professionals who work in the ﬁeld, it is still unclear to many designers. Here, we’ll demystify the profession a bit and examine how lobbyists help to advance interior design policy across the country.
The profession of lobbying in the United States dates back to the early 1800s. During President Ulysses
S. Grant’s term, he would spend much of his time in the lobby of the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C.
While President Grant enjoyed his time in the hotel’s lobby, individuals would approach him and discuss legislative issues and causes. This is how the effort to personally advocate for a cause you believe in
became known as lobbying. Since then, the lobbying profession has grown enormously, but the goals are
the same — to provide a path for the average citizen to address their government and play a role in the
shaping of our nation’s laws.
With some bumps along the way, lobbyists — working with and for the citizens they represent — have
been successful partners in advocating for sound public policy. For example, the Americans with Disabilities
Act, which protects more than 56 million disabled individuals, would not have been passed without the
inﬂuence and information provided by lobbyists to legislators on behalf of the wider community.
WHAT DO LOBBYISTS DO?
A lobbyist’s main role is to be involved in the governmental process and attempt to inﬂuence a governmental
decision to beneﬁt the citizens they are representing. There are many tasks involved in the lobbying profession, such as researching legislation and proposals by government leaders, attending committee meetings
and hearings, and educating and inﬂuencing legislators on pertinent issues. Lobbyists are also a key source to
identify which legislator is your ally in regard to your particular issue of concern. They can help you understand which legislator(s) to target and who will be the most effective in supporting your rights to practice.
HOW CAN YOU LOBBY FOR INTERIOR DESIGN?
It is true that most advocacy programs are led by paid professionals, but as an interior designer you can play
an important role in the process. In fact, interior designers can serve as some of the best lobbyists for our
profession. No one else is a more effective ambassador for the profession or more effective in explaining
the true deﬁnition of what an interior designer does. Promoting your profession, in your own words and
experience, is the best way to clear up any misconceptions others may have.
When approaching a legislator about the importance of the interior design profession, it is essential
to describe the profession and its responsibilities. Lobbying ﬁrms across the United States are constantly
representing the interior design profession. They are responsible for educating legislators at the local,
state and national levels about what interior designers do. Lobbyists make sure that legislators have a better understanding of the depth and capacity with which an interior designer may partake in a commercial
or residential project.
So, what should you do next? You should contact your state legislative coalition to ﬁnd out more about
your lobbyist and how he or she has worked on your issues over the years. Find out when your next state
lobbying day is and get involved. You can lobby for the interior design industry and make a difference in
your profession. We urge you to make your voice heard! i
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HISTORY OF LOBBYING
WALL = SCULPTURE
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CONTACT THE ASID GOVERNMENT & PUBLIC AFFAIRS TEAM
ASID has a full-time staff of experienced professionals working to protect interior designers’ rights in the government
and public affairs arena. If you have questions or would like to become involved in interior design legislative efforts,
please contact the ASID Government and Public Affairs team at (202) 546-3480 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don Davis, vice president email@example.com
Alexis de Armas, government affairs specialist
Visit us at www.asid.org/legislation.
modulararts.com I 206.788.4210
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ASID Icon - Summer 2013
2013 ASID Awards
2013 Class of ASID Fellows
ASID Elevate Awards
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ASID Icon - Summer 2013