For some, lobbyist is a four-letter word, as Republican David Jolly learned in the lead up to the March 11 special election for Florida’s 13th Congressional District.
Jolly faced a constant barrage of criticism over his time as a registered lobbyist, not only from rival Alex Sink, but also from the entire Democratic Party. Past clients became ammunition for Jolly’s opponents, especially one that supports privatizing social Security and another who backed offshore drilling.
However, anyone who understands the process of legislative advocacy and how it actually works knows that lobbyists provide a valuable service for the public on many levels.
Take Mark Lunsford, for example.
Lunsford became an outspoken child advocate after the 2005 rape and murder of his daughter Jessica by a serial predator.
In a direct mailer sent out Friday, according to Kate Bradshaw of the Tampa Tribune, Lunsford just had enough. He wants voters to see how lobbyists — especially Jolly — are a force for good, and have been for years.
While pushing for tougher federal laws against criminals who prey on children, Lunsford enlisted Jolly to petition Congress on his behalf.
Jolly worked pro bono as an advocate to acquire extra money for the U.S. Marshals Service to track and arrest sex offenders.
“David Jolly stepped up and volunteered to help secure the funding we needed,” Lunsford says on the mailer. “And he made it happen.”
“How do we know that David Jolly will work for us in Congress,” the flyer continues, “because he’s been doing it for years.”
Here is the front:
And the reverse: