When lobbying on "The Hill," it often makes sense not to focus on the politicians, but rather on the agency staffers and regulators who don't come and go with every election cycle.
Tracey Norberg, senior vice president and general counsel for the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association, shared a slide showing that the unfavorable ratings of both the top Democrats and Republicans in Washington easily exceeded their favorable ratings. And that has a direct impact on trying to make progress on issues of importance to any interest group, including the USTMA.
"Sometimes things don't get done because politicians are fighting for their political life," she told the Clemson audience in Hilton Head.
Because of that, Norberg said it is important that the USTMA focus on its own "bread and butter."
"We have to tell our own story and work with who shows up," she said. That means working with those staffers who aren't going anywhere, and make sure—regardless of who is in charge—that the association gets across its message of how important the tire industry is in today's society.
Currently, the USTMA is working to support proactive legislation in areas such as infrastructure investment, scrap tire market development and climate policy. Further, Norberg said it is advocating for what she calls "smart regulations" that target tire safety, performance and innovation; tire consumer information and standards; and environmental stewardship.