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Lobbyist Interview

Lobbyist Interview Tiffany Raspberry is professional and registered lobbyist employed by York Group Associates in New York. She has a vast background in government service and the political arena. Her current clients include organizations dedicated to economic development, education, cultural diversity, health care, and child welfare (Raspberry, 2012). This interview will provide a synopsis of Ms. Raspberry’s role as a social services lobbyist; discuss how her position affects social policy changes; will touch on how human service dollars are acquired, and what role that money plays in direct services; examine how Ms. Raspberry sees herself, as a policy changer or a funding advocate; and allow for her personal view on the future of human services.
The Role of the Social Services Lobbyist The lobbyist plays a vital role in the equitable distribution of governmental funds to non-profit agencies that have a mission to assist those who have been oppressed or suffered some form of injury (legal or physical). The lobbyist must communicate to individual politicians, or to entire groups of legislators, exactly how and why funding dollars should be allocated to their clients (Raspberry, 2012).
How Does the Lobbyist Affect Social Policy Changes Contrary to popular belief, the lobbyist is not always interested solely in governmental funding. There are many instances in which the lobbyist is hired by an organization, or a group of agencies for the purpose of changing or creating legislation. For example, Ms. Raspberry was hired to advocate with the New York State Legislature on behalf of the same-sex marriage bill. There was no funding attached to this vote, it was exclusively an issue related to social change and equality (Raspberry, 2012).
Acquiring Funding & How it is Used Ms. Raspberry is hired by non-profit organizations that are either seeking governmental funding that will be designated directly to their particular agency, or who are seeking funding for a cause in general. A domestic violence program may be seeking a state or federal grant to build a new shelter (particular agency), or the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council may be seeking funding for addiction programs in their state (general). It is an important thing to remember that the governmental body can attach any prohibitions to the use of the dollars given that they choose. For example, they may make an award to Planned Parenthood for educational resources but prohibit those dollars from being used in any other form (Raspberry, 2012).
Policy Changer or Funding Advocate? In her role as an independent lobbyist, Ms. Raspberry sees herself as both a policy changer and a funding advocate as she has worked successfully do to both. In her personal opinion, Ms. Raspberry stated that she gets a deeper level of satisfaction from changing unfair social policies than she does from merely securing governmental funding, however she understands the importance of both (Raspberry, 2012).
The Future of Human Services Ms. Raspberry has some fears regarding the future of human services, both legislatively and from a funding perspective. She stated that many of the politicians that she deals with are becoming less compassionate to those who are underprivileged or are suffering in some manner. When she stops to consider that most of the poor, down-trodden, and abused are children, it gives her a heavy heart for what is in store for this children as they come of age. Ms. Raspberry is currently working with an organization dedicated to making higher education an affordable reality for all children (Raspberry, 2012).
Personal Role & Questions for the Lobbyist 1. How did you become involved in the role of Lobbyist?
“I worked as an attorney for several years, mostly taking pro bono cases in the firm that I worked for before eventually transferring to the Public Defender’s Office. While there I was approached by a lobbyist one day. We met several times over a two month period before I decided to make the move” (Raspberry, 2012). 2. What is most rewarding about your work?
“This is easy, being involved in changing unfair, antiquated social policy” (Raspberry, 2012). 3. If it were possible, what would you change about your job?
“I would like to see a greater deal of compassion among our elected officials” (Raspberry, 2012). 4. Why did you become a Lobbyist?
“As a method to truly help those in need on a broad scale, as well as to effect positive social change” (Raspberry, 2012). 5. How do your personal values affect the way in which you perform your required duties?
“I believe in the tenet that those who have should help those who do not” (Raspberry, 2012). 6. How do your actual responsibilities differ from what you expected when starting the position?
“This job is actually exactly what I expected it to be” (Raspberry, 2012).
This interview provided a synopsis of Ms. Raspberry’s role as a social services lobbyist; discussed how her position affects social policy changes; touched on how human service dollars are acquired, and what role that money plays in direct services; examined how Ms. Raspberry sees herself, as a policy changer or a funding advocate; and allowed for her personal view on the future of human services. It is simple to conclude that the human services lobbyist plays an important role both in securing funding dollars for the underprivileged as well as in taking part in positive social change.

Raspberry, T. (2012). Lobbyist. York Group Associates. Telephone Interview.

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