The Business of Lobbying | Pinegar, Smith & Associates
Emma Highfill | Photographer
Founded by John Pinegar and Doug Smith in 1991, Pinegar, Smith & Associates is a government relations and public affairs firm located in Topeka, Kansas.
The firm’s goal is to help businesses interact with government regulators and officials. Put simply, their “primary purpose is to design long-term solutions for clients.”
Pinegar was introduced to state government and the legislative process through an internship program while a student at Washburn University. During this internship, he was able to observe the legislative process and became intrigued by the role lobbyists played.
Pinegar said he enjoys working with legislators and members of the executive branch, along with his clients, to address challenging issues and develop creative solutions. Much of his time, Pinegar says, is spent simply learning about different issues flagged by businesses and then educating government officials on the impact of their proposed and existing public policies.
But it’s not all book work and studying. Much of what Pinegar does involves relationship-building and communication. In fact, fostering strong relationships with elected officials and members of the executive branch is one of the most enjoyable aspects of being a lobbyist, Pinegar said. By forming these relationships,
he and his team are better able to work with lawmakers on improving and introducing beneficial policies, which in turn help the consortium of 36 businesses and organizations he and Smith represent—including their alma mater, Washburn.
PART OF THE POLITICAL PROCESS
“Lobbyists come from all different walks of life,” Pinegar said. “Being a lobbyist is an integral part of the democratic political process, and unfortunately, it’s not always well understood by the general population. It involves a lot more than just persuading legislators. We do research, attend hearings, educate government officials, and advocate for clients.”