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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Lobbyists

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April 28, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Are all lobbyists supervillains?

Lobbyist Steve Gano outside the Washington State Senate Chamber (Photo courtesy of Steve Gano website)

The public finds them distasteful, and politicians avoid association with them, but lobbyists play an important and often misunderstood role in politics. 

Like most things in politics, the parameters and exact definition of lobbying are murky. The profession connotes images of bloated salaries, exploitive favors and misused tax dollars. My admittedly cartoonish understanding of lobbyists were that they were the shadowy figures lurking in the hallways of the Capitol building, pining for a moment of face time with their local rep.

There are countless examples of lobbying’s more nefarious side, but it’s also worth acknowledging the watchdog role of lobbying. As Steve Gano sees it, he’s an advocate on behalf of his clients. A lawyer of the political arena.

Gano was hitchhiking home from his summer job one weekend in college, when he happened upon his future in politics. A car pulled over, offering him a ride to campus, and Gano noticed that the back of the vehicle was full of yard signs.



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