October 2, 2012 •
One Minute With … Elizabeth Bartz
Your favorite movie about politics or business?
I really liked All the President’s Men because of the history it presented. I liked Wall Street, which showed me how bad it could be if I wanted to be a mean businessperson, so I am trying to do the opposite. I work for the good guys.
Books that influenced your understanding of the work you do?
PAC Power: Inside the World of Political Action Committees, by Larry J. Sabato, and Politics and Money: The New Road to Corruption, by Elizabeth Drew. I read them when I was first getting started in this profession and I wanted to learn more about PACs. They gave me a good foundation in how this world works.
A president you admire?
I could say something safe like George Washington, but I really admire Bill Clinton. I was living by myself in Alexandria, Va., when he gave his acceptance speech. I loved what he said about believing in hope. I remember jumping up and down in my apartment screaming with approval. I also admire what he accomplished. I like what he did to reform welfare. Thanks to programs his administration established, I was able to sell my house in Alexandria and buy one back in Ohio. I was able to sell the house in Alexandria to a woman who was getting off welfare. She was able to buy it for $2,000 down. I was thrilled to do that. I also admire AmeriCorps. My daughter participated in Teach for America, which is part of AmeriCorps. That’s a great program.
Business leaders you admire?
Steve Jobs, though I wouldn’t want to emulate everything he did. But like Bill Gates, he had a mind for business. He had a vision, and I am inspired by that in building my own company. There’s a big gulf between my company and Apple or Microsoft, but I can still keep working to make it better.
How are state budget problems affecting the public affairs profession?
Because the states are trying to raise revenues, they are looking at the lobbying profession and trying to raise registration fees. The registration fee in Ohio for years was $10. Now it is $25. There was an effort in Illinois to raise it to $1,000. It is now $300 there. That might not sound like a lot of money, but when you realize that a lot of companies have multiple registrations, it adds up. It makes companies think seriously about whether they should register. It’s going to have a big impact on this profession.
On the policy side?
Pay-to-play is a big issue. The procurement process is changing as states try to make sure there is not a connection between a contribution and a contract.
What’s on your iPod?
I have two iPads, and iPod, one iPhone, one Droid, a MacBook and a laptop. So I’m too connected. But musically, I’m all ‘70s, but no disco. That means Carly Simon, James Taylor, late Beatles. I had Carol King’s Tapestry on an eight-track tape player, if you remember what those were. I just moved it to my iPod. Also, I liked Fleetwood Mac even before they performed at Clinton’s inaugural.
This visit was courtesy of the Public Affairs Council’s October 2012 Impact newsletter.
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