The Business of Lobbying | Gencur Svaty Public Affairs
Emma Highfill | Photographer
Svaty is a lobbyist and political advocate, but she describes herself with another word: teacher.
“Companies have laws and regulations that pass by lawmakers,” Svaty explained. “My job is much like the job of a teacher—such as my mom— in that when it comes time to decide on a bill, legislators are not experts in
all the areas that the bill might affect. So, it’s my job to educate them in their role, in whatever market they’re making decisions for.”
When a bill or law is about to pass, many times even the companies being affected by it don’t know the full extent of what the policy change might do. For this reason, one facet of Svaty’s job includes conducting large volumes of research. Then, it is her duty to inform both sides of the situation (i.e., the policymakers and the businesses) as to how a certain policy change will affect a company or industry.
“One part that is consistently not talked about is that it is incumbent upon me to make sure a legislator
fully understands the picture of the marketplace, and that means all sides,” Svaty said. “I can’t go in and just give a legislator one side of the story. It is important to talk about the client’s perspective, but you must make sure it is balanced.”
Because she must work closely with both parties, relationship building is a critical part of what Svaty does.
“Trust is so important,” she said. “Honesty and forthrightness are key.”
Svaty also is a big believer that most everyone involved in the lobbying and political scene are there for the right reasons.
“I feel extremely lucky about the work I do because of who I work with,” Svaty said. “They are working every day to improve the lives of other people.”
But it is still politics after all, and every once in awhile things don’t go as they should because of a political reason, and that can be frustrating.
“A bill or law with no opposition and great benefits might not get passed for no other reason than that it’s politics, and you don’t always know what the motivations are,” she said.
Those outlying situations aside, though, she finds her work incredibly meaningful. As someone who represents many companies in the energy, air and agriculture industries, Svaty knows that her work plays a part in keeping people’s power on, providing food on the table, and bringing good jobs to the state of Kansas.