Crafting an Industry-Wide Advocacy Agenda for 2021
As the printing industry continues to grow and diversify, so does its advocacy in Washington and across the country. 2021 will see a new president inaugurated, a new U.S. Congress sworn into office, and new faces among the ranks of governors and state legislators, and PRINTING United Alliance is poised to meet all of these changes with the most robust government affairs program ever assembled to represent the industry. Launched earlier this year, the new Alliance brings together the legislative, political, and regulatory expertise necessary to advocate for a pro-print agenda. This three-legged stool model is the gold standard of advocacy and allows the Alliance to leverage the voices of its member companies to achieve a successful business environment for the industry, its workforce, and its customers.
In an era of divided government, this holistic approach to advocacy is especially critical. Picture a balloon full of hot air (Washington pun intended), and squeezing the air from one side of the balloon to the other. That image demonstrates the push-pull relationship between legislative and regulatory policy. Congress passes laws and regulatory agencies, like the Department of Labor, implement the details. If a Congressional outcome is undesirable to the printing industry, the Alliance can turn on its regulatory advocacy to ease the impact on the industry. Conversely, burdensome or costly regulatory actions can be met by lobbying Congress to repeal agency rules or withhold implementation funding.
The Alliance’s scope of advocacy, too, is one that allows for the most beneficial impact to the printing industry. Both good and bad policy ideas flow freely between Capitol Hill and state legislatures (and municipalities, too). By providing both federal and state industry representation, the Alliance is able to effectively elevate policies that benefit the printing industry, its employees, and its customers, while at the same time combatting policies that would be detrimental to industry innovation and success.
The Alliance also promotes the printing industry’s political brand – one that has limitless potential if industry comes together to pool its voices and its resources in support of a common agenda. Politics is just more than campaigns and elections; it includes relationship building and networking to educate and engage lawmakers as stakeholders. After all, they are making key decisions that ultimately impact your company’s bottom line. The Alliance provides its members with the most up-to-date grassroots advocacy tools to help facilitate your company’s political engagement. The Alliance also offers its members the opportunity to politically engage via PrintPAC, the printing and packaging industry’s premier political action committee. This committee is dedicated to electing pro-print senators and representatives. Additionally, companies provide corporate support to Print Powers America, which funds special industry advocacy initiatives on issues such as tax and trade.
However, the Alliance’s legislative, regulatory, and political muscle is only as strong as its grassroots power — the Alliance member companies. And step one of flexing this grassroots power is by participating in the first-ever PRINTING United Alliance Legislative and Regulatory Priorities Survey, an exclusive survey for Alliance member companies open now through Dec. 1, 2020. By helping craft a forward-looking, unified industry advocacy agenda, you can help set your company and the industry on a course for success. For more information on the survey or on PRINTING United Alliance government affairs efforts, visit sgia.org/advocacy.
Lisbeth Lyons is Vice President, Government & Political Affairs, PRINTING United Alliance, the largest, most comprehensive graphic arts trade association in the country. With more than 20 years of experience representing the voice of business on Capitol Hill, Lisbeth advocates for public policies that protect and advance the economic future of the printing and packaging industry. She oversees PRINTING United Alliance’s legislative, political, and grassroots advocacy initiatives, and has served in executive leadership of multiple successful advocacy campaigns, such as Coalition for Paper Options, Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service, and Stop Tariffs on Printers & Publishers Coalition.
Prior to representing PRINTING United Alliance, Lisbeth served in similar roles at Printing Industries of America, US Telecom, and the National Federation of Independent Business. She also spent three years as a K-12 teacher in the Chicago Public Schools system, where she was on the forefront of urban education reform in the mid-1990s.
Lisbeth is Midwestern born and bred, having grown up in the St. Louis metropolitan area and attended college at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, before starting her career in Washington, DC. She holds a B.A. in English/Sociology and a professional graduate certificate from The George Washington University School of Political Management. She lives in the historic Logan Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC.
An avid leader and learner in professional development, Lisbeth was a founding member of the Government Relations Leadership Forum, and is an active participant in organizations such as Council of Manufacturing Associations, Women in Government Relations, and National Association of Business PACs, among others. Lisbeth is often a featured speaker at premier industry conferences; she has spoken to Boards of Directors, corporate executive management teams, and state and regional trade associations across the country from coast to coast.