Terry McAteer: Need A Job? ‘Go West Young Man’ … to Sacramento | TheUnion.com
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Terry McAteer: Need A Job? ‘Go West Young Man’ … to Sacramento

Terry McAteer
Columnist

Out of work? Need a job? As 19th century newspaper editor Horace Greeley noted, “Go West Young Man.” What was true then is still true today.

The gold of the West is no longer in the Sierra Nevada foothills as it is now in the hallowed halls of the State Capitol in Sacramento. You don’t need any defined skills other than a great gift of gab, love of dining out and enjoying the art of schmoozing.

Yes, the new gold mine is the ever-increasing job market of lobbying our state’s elected officials.

Last year, a record $394 million was spent on lobbying activities towards our 80 Assembly members, our 40 state senators and our handful of statewide elected officials in Sacramento. This represents a 7.7% increase from the preceding year. There are scores of lobbying firms in the Sacramento area and, in fact, a group of lobbyists recently published a book to attract more eager beavers entitled, “A Practitioner’s Guide to Lobbying and Advocacy in California.” With this new tool ($50 from publisher Kendall Hunt) and the aforementioned skills you, too, can be headed on the right track.

Last year, a record $394 million was spent on lobbying activities towards our 80 Assembly members, our 40 state senators and our handful of statewide elected officials in Sacramento.

I’d suggest a job with one of the three biggest lobbying operations: Capitol Advocacy, which represents PG&E, telecom, hospitals and tech firms and raked-in $8.4 million in fees; KP Public Affairs which represents Citigroup, water districts and chemical firms with $7.2 million in fees; or Lang, Hansen, O’Malley and Miller which represents horse racing, tobacco firms and Edison Electric, with $7 million in fees.

Other possibilities include lobbying for specific entities such as the Western States Petroleum Association, which last year spent $8.8 million on Sacramento lobbying activities. Others would include the California Teacher’s Association (CTA, which spent $6.9 million), Chevron ($6 million), California State Employees ($4.4 million) and Edison Electric (spent $3.3 million in lobbying) and would all be good prospects in the job search.

Another fine job search tool comes from the California Secretary of State, which publishes an annual directory of the lobbyists in Sacramento. The problem is that the book is 961 pages but can be downloaded to check out the “Who’s Who” in the schmoozing business. In fact, 3,468 corporations, associations, trade unions, etc. spent money on lobbying activities.

Due to the coronavirus, the Medical Supply Association has probably expanded its lobbying budget. Over the past four years, the number of entities lobbying in Sacramento has grown by 15%.

Last year alone, 167 associations spent over $400,000 each on lobbying activities with 48 entities spending over $1 million. Firms spending over a million last year went up 37%; it appears there is plenty of low hanging fruit to land that high paying job. According to salary.com, lobbying jobs in Sacramento average around $100,000, with top lobbyists making many multiples of that.

Read the Guide, parlay through the Lobbying Directory, get your pin-striped suit pressed, rev-up your schmoozing skills and drive, walk or run to the marble halls of our State Capitol where the real gold mine is located.

Terry McAteer is a member of The Union Editorial Board. His views are his own and do not represent the views of The Union or its editorial board members. Contact him at editboard@theunion.com.


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