NAME: Aaron Read
JOB TITLE: Lobbyist
Capitol Weekly: Your firm is one of the largest in the area. How did you
Aaron Read: I am without a doubt one of the longest serving lobbyists in the
area. I started about 35 years ago when Ronald Reagan was serving as
governor. I have lobbied under six different governors. I started this
company in 1978. It started out small with just me and one other employee
and now I have 15. We represent a variety of clients including public
safety, professional associations, and all kinds of specialty groups. We
represent a broad spectrum of clients which is both good and bad. We are
able to interface with nearly every legislator on one issue or another, so
we have a lot of exposure.
CW: What do you think is the secret to lobbying success and how has lobbying
changed over the years?
AR: There is a lot of rapid turnover now in the Legislature because of term
limits, so some lobbyists have difficulty catching up and knowing all the
members and forming relationships with them. So, the job of being a
legislative advocate has become more difficult with term limits. The
hallmark of any lobbyist is to be honest and provide accurate information.
It is absolutely paramount that a lobbyist is forthright in their
information and can be able to provide clients with both sides of the
argument on an issue.
There are also restrictions in terms of political contributions. The money
part does not bother me because spending limits are still pretty high
considering what can be contributed through independent expenditures as
CW: So what do you do during your free time?
AR: I am a pilot. I have been a private pilot since 1968. I also love to
scuba dive and I try to go to Maui when I can because I have a house there.
CW: How did you get into lobbying?
AR: I was too little to play football, too short to play basketball so this
is my version of pro sports. I get to play hardball. I love the competition
and I love to win. We love our clients though and we really do believe in
them. The irony of this job is that the more you do it, the better you get.
Just like playing professional sports, there is a sense of performance
anxiety being a lobbyist. Our clients expect us to win, so it keeps us on