This past Monday I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Harrisburg to meet the Government Relations team and see what they do on a day to day basis. Even though I grew up around politics, I had never seen the House in session before or watched as committees voted on legislation, but that’s exactly what I got to do during my time in the capitol!
When I was on the floor watching the health committee vote on legislation, it seemed so seamless. Most of the members were on board with the bills that were being discussed, and although there were always some questions, the experts that were brought in to speak to these bills were very knowledgeable and able to calm any lingering worries from the members.
However, it wasn’t until afterwards that I learned how much planning and work actually goes into making these sessions look so seamless. Margaret, Bravo’s Government Relations Specialist, explained that work on these bills actually begins years before what I saw. Bravo’s Government relations team must meet with the client to discuss what they want out of the bill, carefully draft the bill, find experts to speak on behalf of the bill, have people write testimonials to share with the members of the health committee, talk to the members themselves in order to convince them to support the bill, and much much more. To put it in perspective, the bills that I saw being voted on were not even ready to become law, and yet we had already been working on them for several years!
In addition, I got to see the House in session, which was very different from what I imagined. In the movies, you see everyone in the House sitting quietly while people speak about various legislation. However, while I was there we saw a number of local people being recognized for their actions and foreign delegates speaking about their experiences in Pennsylvania. It was much a more interesting and diverse experience than TV makes it out to be!
Overall, I’m very glad that I got this experience. Although, as a marketing major I will probably never have involvement with the Government Relations side of things, it’s always interesting to get to explore a new city and to learn about a different part of Bravo!
Catharine Gaylord || Wayne Office