ABC Keystone Merit Shop Advocacy Blog

by Jim Willshier, ABC Keystone, Director of Government Affairs

As the state legislature is kicking off a delayed start to legislative business, we should recognize some things that reflect the General Assembly’s growth in 2023. This session will see the first female Senate Pro Tempore (Sen. Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland) and first female Majority Leader in the House (Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia) along with 77 other women in the legislature – the most ever. We also have nearly 50 new legislators, the largest freshmen class in 60 years. It’s easy to see that many historical changes are happening in the Capitol while, at the same time, those newly elected and those experienced but new to leadership roles are still on a learning curve. More importantly, all of them are still deciding how they want to lead and represent their home districts with their position of influence.

The beginning of 2023 presents the first test of state policy-makers with the looming state budget, which will also be the first Governor Shapiro on March 7. While little is known about the administration’s plans in this budget, it will become the opening negotiation for this administration’s future policy priorities and potential taxes.

A significant amount of education will be needed for the legislature and Governor Shapiro’s administration on our industry, regardless of what we see in the budget proposal. Just like your potential clients and partners need to hear your company’s story, these public officials need to listen to it too. They need to understand what you do for the Pennsylvania economy, how you help the workforce, and what it means for the future of Pennsylvania. They need to understand your challenges that need to be solved or the potential barriers they unintentionally create.

Remember, it is always better to have an ally before you need one than miss having an ally in a potential crisis because it will be too late to start building that relationship. The way to do that is to have those conversations now through advocacy at ABC and your meetings with legislators. Engage with us at ABC if you want help with talking points on anything, questions about setting up an appointment, or learning about other opportunities to educate your legislators.

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Posted March 2, 2023