The Public Health Lobbyist acts as the representative for public health needs and is responsible for making those needs known to legislators. If you have an interest in politics and a desire to advocate for public health advancements read on to discover is this is a potential career for you.
What does the public health lobbyist do?
The public health lobbyist works to persuade key members within the government to enact legislation to benefit the interests of the represented group. Typical duties of a lobbyist include:
- Research legislation as it pertains to targeted area of interest
- Analyze legislation
- Participate in congressional hearings
- Educate and inform government officials on topics of interest
- Persuade government officials to enact legislation to further the needs of the represented group
- Manage campaigns geared toward influencing public opinion to further needs of the group
In order to be an effective public health lobbyist you need some specific characteristics. These include:
- Excellent research skills
- Persuasive communication style
- Passion for the cause
- Creativity and ability to motivate
Nature of the Work
The nature of the work involved with being a lobbyist varies from organization to organization. Lobbyists have to be excellent communicators. They will spend much of their time communicating with government officials in an effort to persuade policy initiation. The lobbyist is an excellent researcher. They will stay abreast of current events that affect their organization’s interests. Lobbyists attend congressional hearings and maintain up to date knowledge of legislation and policy change.
Lobbyists work closely with the affiliated organization. The lobbyist is the voice of their organization and needs to have a clear understanding of organizational goals and missions. Lobbyists will help their organization develop clear strategies. The lobbyist is responsible for keeping the organization aware and educated on any legislation that impacts the organization’s mission. The lobbyist is involved in drafting new legislation and presenting compelling arguments for the enactment of legislation to policy makers.
The lobbyist may work long and unusual hours. They need to maintain a presence in the political arena to be effective. The lobbyist will travel to state capitols and the U.S. capitol to be an effective presence. Lobbyists may work in large, government and private organizations. They may work in small, grass roots organizations.
Legislature may be asked to rule on hundreds of bills in any given week. There is no way the legislator can have personal knowledge of all the ramifications of each and every proposal. Legislators do not have the time to complete extensive research on each bill and how enactment may affect the community. Because of this the legislator will rely on the lobbyist to keep them informed and help them to make the best possible decisions.
A major function of being an effective lobbyist is developing relationships. The lobbyist will build credibility and effectiveness by creating a positive rapport with both lawmakers and members of the organization they represent. Using ethical decision making and informed communication will have a positive effect on the lobbyist’s reputation and influence.
Education and Training
There is no specific requirement to become a public health lobbyist in regards to formal education. Excellent communication skills are an absolute requirement for the position. According to the American League for Lobbyists there is always a need for lobbyists. The U.S. Department of Labor does not keep specific statistics on employment and earnings of the lobbyist. Many lobbyists work for non-profit organizations and do not make a tremendous amount of money. Many lobbyists do the job based on a passion and desire to effect law making to further a particular cause.