By Ashley Jost
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — For Tricia Workman, lobbying is the unique chance to constantly learn all there is to know about new issues as they rise during session for her clients.
Currently a contract lobbyist for Stinson, Morrison, Hecker L.L.P., Workman represents clients ranging from Monsanto Company to the Charter School Association and the St. Louis Regional Chamber.
Workman’s favorite part of her job? The fascinating process. She said meeting with leadership and gaining their support to get their projects pushed through and accomplished.
Workman has worked for Stinson since 2007, but before that she said she worked for John Bardgett, lobbying since 1995.
“I used to drive back and forth, leaving [Jefferson City] Thursday and returning Monday,” Workman added, saying she moved to the City full-time during 2009.
While many different projects during her time in session have been intriguing, she said the charter school expansion bill last year is one of the most interesting. She said it had not been expanded since the charter schools were authorized during 1999.
“There was apprehension from rural members of the legislature, but a lot of support from urban representatives,” she said. “We had to talk with literally almost every single one of them. It required us to do everything we needed to do as a lobbyist: presentation, persuasion and encourage.”
During this session, Workman said she did significant work with Senate Bill 1, legislation sponsored by Sen. Scott Rupp that dealt with worker’s compensation. She said Stinson has a number of clients that had interest in ensuring that occupational disease was covered by the system.
While working for Bardgett, Workman said she worked on several interesting issues, but at Stinson she has the opportunity to deal with policy issues, really utilizing her knowledge and background as a lawyer.
“Nothing about what I’m doing right now is overly simplistic,” she added.
Workman said she thinks there are a lot of advantages in having a law background, as it allows her the perspective of knowing what the possible ramifications of legislation would be constitutionally.
“I think a lot of lawyers would find the process frustrating,” she said. “There is a lot of compromise and not always an end result. These issues aren’t always black or white.”
She added that the benefit for her career is beginning as a lobbyist before going back to school for her law degree.
“So often there’s this misconception about what lobbyists do,” she said. “Many people in the Missouri legislature believe we offer value in sharing information about something they don’t know. There’s so much information out there and it’s hard to weed out what’s important or factual.”
Workman added that during all of her years in session, she’s always found that legislators are independent-minded, intelligent people who understand the importance of integrity and honesty among the lobbyists, and value what they do.
To contact Ashley Jost, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter at @ajost.
Ashley Jost is no longer with The Missouri Times. She worked as the executive editor for several months, and a reporter before that.