I traveled to Washington, DC, this week for our annual public affairs roundtable held in partnership with Fleishman-Hillard at the gorgeously antique Mayflower Renaissance just north of famed power corridor K Street. The morning breakfast session included a packed room for Chris Cillizza, our featured speaker and author of leading political blog The Fix and managing editor of PostPolitics.com. Cillizza noted voters' frustration with ongoing gridlock in Washington, saying there seems to be a lack of will for compromise on all sides, including the public.
Later, at the roundtable discussion, one theme hovered over everything: the economy. Whether we were discussing coalition-building, regulations, or voting, everyone was nervous about how the soft economy will affect their issues, constituents, and federal funding. You'll be able to read an edited transcript of the roundtable in our November issue, as well as online November 1.
PRWeek's new public affairs and healthcare reporter Brittany Farb joined me on the trip, throwing herself into the beat as we knocked on many doors in Washington, including the US Chamber of Commerce, Facebook, and a number of public affairs agencies. There's definitely an excitement in Washington as the campaign season kicks off, and it was encouraging to see the interesting digital projects that many DC-based firms now regularly take on. Yet, it's clear that the economy – and the conversation around job creation – will continue to dominate and sway the discussion in Washington for the foreseeable future, including stalling other projects. As one native Washingtonian PR practitioner put it, “Anything with a price tag is going to be hard to get through.”