Recently I spoke to an organization that operates in fear of a Sacramento special interest. My response won’t surprise you: “Stop whining. Punch your weight. If your opponent runs their political affairs like a business, so must you.”
Examples of well-run political operations in Sacramento include California Association of Realtors, dialysis company DaVita, Consumer Attorneys of California, SEIU (service employees), California Medical Association (doctors), CTA and CFT (teachers), Coke, Pepsi, State Buildings & Construction Trades, and CCPOA (prison guards). All of them are persistent in presence and financial support and — like every business — view each day as another chance to beat competitors and achieve objectives. Don’t expect to be taken seriously at first. With good reason, Sacramento views new entrants the same way Hollywood views new money — easy to pluck and not likely to stick around. But if you’re persistent and professional, you’ll gain power over time. That’s what happened when we defeated old lion special interests in liberating nurse practitioners to practice and blocking tax increase and collective bargaining bills. For legislators to disappoint special interests who never forget who disappoints them, legislators must reach the conclusion that you are there to stay. We have much bigger fights to come.
It’s not complicated. If you want good state governance you have to put your shoulder to the political wheel and keep it there.