WASHINGTON, DC: Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives will be back home in their districts this week implementing the latest PR plans of the House Republican Conference (HRC). But will the effort fly, or be rejected by a population still smarting from the Clinton impeachment proceedings?
WASHINGTON, DC: Republican members of the U.S. House of
Representatives will be back home in their districts this week
implementing the latest PR plans of the House Republican Conference
(HRC). But will the effort fly, or be rejected by a population still
smarting from the Clinton impeachment proceedings?
The HRC has developed a program called ’Securing America’s Future,’
which concentrates on four key issues: national defense, education
reform, strengthening retirement security and tax reform. The group is
chaired by Rep. Peter Hoekstra, a former marketing exec with Fortune 500
furniture manufacturer Herman Miller.
Each GOP House member has been given a pocket card with bullet points on
the issues that the HRC and its chairman, Rep. J.C. Watts, are
promoting, and the group is regularly churning out more substantial
Watts has spent the last three weeks personally acquainting the HRC, GOP
campaign committees and allied coalition groups with the PR plan.
National Republican Congressional Committee communications director Ed
Blakely told PRWeek that this effort marks the first time since the 1994
’Contract with America’ that the GOP has mounted a PR push on behalf of
’a legislative agenda that presents a true contrast with the
Accountability is built into the process by having each Republican House
member designate a representative to attend briefings and develop ways
to ’localize’ the presentation of the project’s key issues. The plan is
for each GOP member to promote the agenda back home in town hall
meetings and sit-downs with the local news media.
Sources contacted by PRWeek applauded the effort, but remained skeptical
as to whether the PR push will succeed, suggesting that selling the plan
nationally will not be easy. Jack Pitney, Claremont McKenna professor of
government, noted that the leadership’s fresh faces, House Speaker
Dennis Hastert and Watts, are still uncertain performers on national
Moreover, the known quantities, House Majority Leader Dick Armey and
House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, are hobbled by their association with the
However, GOP consultant Jim Innocenzi insisted that ’the good part is
that there is unity of message.’ But to sell the plan, the GOP will need
to slice through the country’s dissatisfaction with impeachment-minded