Healthy prognosis for DC public affairs in year 2000

WASHINGTON, DC: 2000 will be a prosperous time for public affairs shops in Washington, DC.

WASHINGTON, DC: 2000 will be a prosperous time for public affairs shops in Washington, DC.

WASHINGTON, DC: 2000 will be a prosperous time for public affairs

shops in Washington, DC.



The rosy outlook, several sources told PRWeek, represents a stunning

about-face from this time last year - and DC-based PR pros and lobbyists

believe the biggest action won’t even take place until 2001.



Fleishman-Hillard SVP Stanley Collender recalled that last year’s

impeachment proceedings pushed consideration of big legislative items

back until later in the year. Business ground to a halt, but picked up

towards the end of 1999 as reform legislation involving managed care and

financial services assumed center stage.



According to Shandwick Public Affairs president Dave Krawitz, 2000 is

starting ’with the business horizon looking very positive.’



Congress will probably be slow to act on legislation - which is often

the case when a second-term president is about to leave office. Lobbying

and PR campaigns aimed at influencing policy, however, are likely to

start earlier than usual, given the likelihood that the most serious

legislative action will take place before the party conventions this

summer.



Tax reform, said H&K senior managing director Jeffrey Trammell, is among

the issues that will possibly prove a boon for PR pros and lobbyists,

provided that the proposed changes impact IRAs or healthcare. A mere

personal tax cut, however, will not create an urgent need for intense

public affairs and grass-roots support.



Other large-scale public affairs and lobbying campaigns could spring

from battles over raising the minimum wage, the continued debate over

HMO reform and trade issues involving the WTO and China.



Trammell insists the biggest boost to the grass-roots PR, public affairs

and lobbying industries could be the election of a Republican president

or Democratic House. ’Change creates business opportunities,’ he

said.



PR agencies and lobbyists, however, must be ready to move quickly. One

agency exec said that clients are already asking about using the party

platform process as a vehicle to create buzz for their agendas.



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