Tuesday, March 29, 2011

There are many cool aspects about working at a building like Iowa's capitol building. For starters, the building itself is a work of art. If you have a chance to check it out, take a moment to just look at the walls, the columns, and the artwork. The building was made from different stones from all over the world and it really is a privilege to work in it.

Another cool part of working in Iowa's capitol building is that Iowa is first for Presidential caucuses, and that means we are already getting extra attention as a state. The entire nation pays close attention to who wins in Iowa, and more than anything, it almost proves that Iowans are among the most well informed and trusted voters in the country.

I have already been able to see Congresswomen Michele Bachmann at the capitol building and multiple other potential Presidential candidates were in Des Moines over the weekend to speak at Steve King's event at the Marriott.

I wasn't particularly enthused about working on a Saturday last weekend, but at the end of the day I realized I had really enjoyed it and that it was a unique opportunity to hear the opinions of some of the people who may end up the most powerful person in the free world.

It is unique opportunities like these that are making me enjoy being a lobbyist in the state of Iowa.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

We have been busy this week at the Capitol Building and we have a lot more work to get done. One thing we are currently working on is speaking with Legislators about becoming members of the Iowa Energy Forum, a group of Iowans concerned with where the state and the nation's energy policies are headed.

The Iowa Energy Forum supports all types of energy, from fossil fuels to solar and wind energy. A comprehensive strategy would be the best strategy for all involved.

The Iowa Energy Forum does have a Facebook page, found linked at the bottom of this post. Please feel free to check out the Facebook page as it is frequently updated with new information and topics that really should be discussed by everybody. I encourage you to "like" the Iowa Energy Forum's Facebook page and start or get involved in some discussion on the page.

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/Iowa-Energy-Forum/137090919663389

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Funnel Week

This week in the Iowa legislature is Funnel Week. What I have come to understand is that this means if a bill is not out of the committee in the chamber in which it started, then it is dead.

This is very important to Capitol Strategies Group, Inc. because we have a couple of issues that need to be resolved before the deadline. We are working on getting two very important pieces of legislation passed out of the committee this week and we are confident that we can accomplish our goals.

I have been told the further we get into the session, the more hectic it becomes. While my first two months have not been a cakewalk, this is an added dimension. We are under pressure to get our bills out of committee so they have a chance to go to the other chamber and it is Wednesday, which means we likely only have today and tomorrow.

After funnel week, a bill then has two weeks to pass out of committee in the other chamber, which is more added stress. With these deadlines I can see where one might get the impression of the crescendo effect, where pressure and stress build over time in the session.

I will post later about how we did with regards to my first funnel week experience.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Capitol Strategies Group, Inc. is continuing to work at the Capitol on behalf of our clients. While I do have my own responsibilities every day, a lot of what I am doing right now is observing, listening, and learning. There is a lot of information to take in with regards to how things are accomplished around the Capitol.

Sometimes I am surprised at how simple it can be to arrange a meeting and get something done. On the other hand, sometimes it can seem like it is way too complicated, and no work will ever get done. I am still very early into the process so I am not trying to get too high or too low as far as reacting to my surroundings.

While I mainly listen when we are having meetings with Legislators, yesterday I got my first real taste of the job, however informal it was. I was able to speak with a House Leader and tell him we had a few bills we wanted moved. When I told him what bill I was specifically referring to, I was met with "No."

Call it what you will, but at worst, he was just sticking to his guns and not giving me any run-a-round, which is a good thing.

CSG will continue to monitor a number of bills and represent our clients in the best way we know how, and the session is only going to get better for us.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Another week of the 2011 Iowa Legislative Session has passed and it was a busy one. We are working hard to meet each and every new legislator, but it takes time because just like me, the legislators are new to the Statehouse, as well. We send in a note to the legislators telling them we would like to talk with them, and the notes are usually unsuccessful for one reason or another. If we get about 1 in 4, then we are doing alright.

One key issue Capitol Strategies Group, Inc. is focusing on is the Graduated Driver's License bill that we are monitoring for the National Safety Council. I sat in on my first subcommittee meeting led by Senator Bowman (D-District 13)and it was an interesting time. The GDL bill was voted on and all three State Senators voted that it should be passed up to the committee with a recommendation for an amendment.

CSG will undoubtedly be present at the committee meeting when that bill is brought up and we are looking forward to getting it moved on.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hello, I am back. Well, my first week as a member of Capitol Strategies Group, Inc. is pretty much over. Overall it has been a positive experience and I am looking forward to the challenges that will be presented to me by a legislative session that will only grow more hectic with time.

I can tell you that it is going to take a couple more weeks before my body becomes acclimated to waking up at 6:15 in the morning every day. I have only been working for CSG for almost a month, and it seems like ages ago when I didn't want to wake up at 11:30 for class at the University of Iowa. In those days I could stay up much later; I now find myself yawning and getting tired by 10:30. Along the same lines, I never thought I would become a coffee drinker, and I wouldn't quite call myself one just yet, but I have caught myself sipping on a cup of joe a few times.

I also got my first taste of creating the weekly reports that CSG sends out to its clients every Friday. The new Microsoft Word has been a little frustrating, but it is nothing that I cannot get the hang of. The general template that we follow was created by Nicole Woodroffe is great and we plan on using it again.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2011 Iowa Legislation Session Under Way

Greetings! My name is Daniel Weiser and I will be editing the Capitol Strategies Group, Inc. blog from now on. Originally, the plan was for me to work as an intern with Nicole Woodroffe and Scott Weiser as a part of CSG, but when Nicole accepted a position working upstairs for Senator Paul McKinley, there was an opening in CSG.

After graduating from the University of Iowa on Saturday, December 18th, with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science, I began working for CSG on the 20th.

The session started a couple of days ago and I am still getting my feet under me. There has been a lot of information to take in and a lot of hand-shaking to do. I know it is still very early, but from what I have seen and experienced so far, I think I will like the art of lobbying in Iowa and will prove to a successful addition to Capitol Strategies Group, Inc.

I plan to post here in two manners. I will continue to post news articles or happenings around the Capitol that are important to CSG and people we work closely with. I also will post from the first person narrative and describe some of my experiences as they come to me.