This week marked the official kickoff of the 2012 Presidential Election. From now until August 2012, we will be bombarded with candidates announcing their candidacy, being critical of each others policies and otherwise complicating the issues that are now before Congress. This already in an age where we are bombarded with information. So much information that we just don't know what to believe. WorldPublicOpinion.org, a project based at the University of Maryland, conducted a study that found "strong evidence that voters were substanitally misinformed on many of the issues prominent in the (2010) election campaign."
Congressional Quarterly featured this issue in this week's edition of CQ Weekly. Despite having access to a lot of information, what this study and a recent CNN-Opinion Research survey found was that there is still a knowledge gap of how much we know what goes on in government and how it impacts our lives. In fact, according to the survey, we do not have a clue about which level of government (local, state or federal) does what and for whom. In fact, according to the CQ article, "President's get blamed for local problems, mayors for national problems." In fact, I would get calls almost every week from Detroitiers when I was the Communications Director for the City of Detroit and Press Secretary to former Mayor Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. about issues out of the realm of local government. Also, as a intern for William D. Ford (Ann Arbor) in the 1990's, I would get calls from constituents wanting their street lights fixed.
So as we being a new election cycle, it is important to know what issues are important to you and who is responsible for those issues at either a local, state or federal level. It also is important to reach out to those people and offer your opinion and solution.
In addition, it will benefit you to have a relationship with those individuals so that you can help shape public policy. Retaining a lobbyist or someone who has the connections can prove to be beneficial to you as an individual or as a business. Lobbyists not only know the people involved, they know their personalities and politics surrounding issues. They not only know the policies, they also know the process and can help you navigate above and beyond the rhetoric, to help you achieve your business objectives.