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Advocacy Challenges in the Wake of Illinois 2014 General Election

By Curt Fiedler, Morrill and Associates
Ron Tabaczynski, BOMA/Chicago Director of Government Affairs

Advocacy is often cited as the most important function performed by BOMA/Chicago on behalf of its members. As a trade association, BOMA/Chicago has an impressive history of effectiveness in representing member interests on issues concerning codes, taxation, energy, and labor. By building and maintaining relationships with officials at all levels of government, we have been able to impact regulations and legislation.

Our organizational reputation, expertise, and experience provide the foundation for advocacy success, but these resources are heavily bolstered by our involvement in the political process. Through our Political Action Committee, we support candidates that demonstrate a willingness to consider the perspective of commercial real estate and who appreciate the contribution that a competitive market makes to the economy.

When it comes to state government, BOMA/Chicago’s legislative team consists of in-house staff and a team of state lobbyists. Morrill and Associates has worked with BOMA/Chicago to monitor, support, defeat or amend legislation and executive action that affects the commercial office industry.

The 2014 Illinois General Election is now behind us and a new Republican Governor is preparing to take office. In the General Assembly, the House and Senate Democrats will retain their supermajority caucuses. The retention of “supermajority caucuses” will make relationship building between the legislative leaders and the Governor-elect that much more important because the Democratic caucuses will continue to have the ability to override any gubernatorial veto.

The election of a Republican governor also significantly changes the legislative dynamics in Springfield from one-party control (Democratic legislature and Executive) to a two-party balance (Democratic legislature; Republican Executive). This new dynamic, which inherently forces both parties to work together on issues, will impact every issue in Springfield for the next four years. The Democratic legislative leaders will want more active participation from Republican legislators on certain issues, and they will want the Republican governor to help generate that legislative support. Likewise, the Republican governor will request the Democratic leaders approve, advance, or concede certain matters over the course of the legislative session.

Another layer of complexity for Governor-elect Rauner will be the effectiveness of the communication between the administration and legislature (at all levels) during the transition period. The Quinn administration was viewed as ineffective due to its inability, on all levels, to effectively communicate with the legislative branch.

It is anticipated that many of the current state agency directors and staff will be replaced. The ability to find workable solutions to the various budget and policy issues faced by the new administration will depend upon the communication between newly hired administration staff – within both the executive branch and state agencies — with legislative leaders, individual legislators and legislative staff.
But there is opportunity in this adversity. BOMA/Chicago and Morrill & Associates have been through similar transitions and changes in Illinois legislative dynamics. As always, the team is prepared to engage on every level with the new administration and legislature on your behalf.
Make your voice heard.