One year into the Biden administration, our political landscape continues to be in flux.
Supreme Court Justice Breyer’s resignation, upcoming midterm elections, and the ongoing pandemic are changing the playing field and shaping policy priorities. How can public affairs help companies navigate these shifting legislative priorities?
To answer that and other questions, we sat down with Senior Public Affairs Strategist Stacey Barrack. She has over 15 years of experience shaping public policy, 10 of which were spent working on the ground with candidates seeking public office. Here’s our conversation:
How does your background in elections inform your work in public affairs?
Simply, elections affect public policies. Understanding how politics and campaign messaging affect the advancement of public policy is key to understanding how to leverage the media to advance policy priorities for our clients. Public officials have their own motivations and policy preferences, predicated by how a particular position plays with their constituencies and affects their re-electability. Understanding how these factors inform political campaign strategies and policy decisions is critical for successful public affairs. We provide our clients with valuable insight into the whys behind policymaker positions, and that enables us to increase the effectiveness of our public affairs and PR campaigns.
How have you helped your clients navigate the changes in the political landscape over the past year?
Politics is predictable, and history repeats itself. When you understand how politics drives public policy, navigating the shifting political landscape becomes easier. Sharing my insights and developing strategic public affairs plans has helped position clients as thought leaders and experts in their fields with the media. By increasing this thought leadership, we have helped our clients affect change and “win” the arguments needed to advance their policy priorities.
How can strategic communications help companies today pursue their policy goals under the Biden administration?
The Biden administration has an ambitious policy agenda that aims to affect change across multiple industries, sectors, and issues. This offers an opportunity for our clients to leverage the areas of intersection and synergy between the Biden administration’s goals and their own policy priorities. Strategic communications can strengthen thought leadership and emphasize areas of alignment and shared visions by marrying what drives the Biden administration with those policy changes aligned to client goals.
You wrote a blog about the infrastructure bill. Now that the bill has passed, what will be the key areas of legislative focus?
Policy priorities on Capitol Hill are always shifting. Passing the infrastructure package was a crucial first step to advancing the Biden administration’s overarching mission. However, several key provisions still need funding behind them before they can be implemented — something the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) was meant to achieve. Unfortunately, partisan politics has created a deadlock on BBBA, as negotiations on how to advance Biden’s ambitious climate and social change package deteriorated. We can expect BBBA to remain a key area of legislative focus of Capitol Hill, in addition to appropriations requests and funding the government. Key issue areas will continue to be COVID-19 and pandemic response, climate change, diversity and equity (in particular, voting rights), healthcare (drug pricing and affordability), and the economy (new jobs and unemployment rates, U.S. competitiveness and the race with China, supply chain issues).
Looking ahead to 2022, what public policy initiatives do you see impacting the tech sector the most?
At the top of the list are:
- A push for enhanced regulations for big tech companies by reforming Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
- Increasing U.S. competitiveness in the Digital Age and with artificial intelligence. This includes robotics, transparency, the governance of AI systems, data-sharing, cloud computing, and ways to root out potential biases.
- Ensuring Internet reliability, networking availability, and interconnectivity, including the expansion of 5G and broadband internet.
RH Strategic is a Seattle and D.C.-based PR agency with a nationwide presence and additional global reach via membership in the Worldcom Public Relations Group. We provide strategic public relations for innovators in the technology, government and healthcare markets.
Interested in joining our team? We’re growing, and we’re looking for experienced, energetic people to join us. Learn more at rhstrategic.com/careers.