Speak Out: Lobby numbers

A Sunday story reported that the four entities that lobbied the General Assembly and state agencies the most in 2019 are all health-related, with the Delaware Healthcare Association easily surpassing the others to claim the title of most active lobbying organization.

• I read this whole article hoping for a list of legislators by name and amount of free money the accepted. I guess that will never happen. — Timmy Harmon

• It’s not done with free money. It’s done with deals. Vote our way and a company that your “associated” with gets this big humongous contract! Vote that way and your daughter gets this cushy 150k job with us! Your grandson that goes by his mother’s last name gets our exclusive fellowship! (Don’t vote our way and I’m sorry but, you may force us to funnel the maximum amount that we can muster from ourselves and our associates to your opponent this year.) Now let’s go to dinner at (insert pricey restaurant) and seal the deal! That’s why the elites that were lying to get their spawn into top tier colleges didn’t think that they were doing anything wrong. It’s their “prerogative.” They’ve “earned” it. It’s all legit, all totally above board — Dwight Rossee

• “Legislators don’t have time to read every bill … They’re relying on us, they’re relying on the media, they’re relying on staff members,” Rhett Ruggerio of Ruggerio Willson & Associates, one of Delaware’s most prominent government relations firms, relayed in a 2018 interview. (So we will grease their palms and tell them how to vote.) These people subvert your vote and make you worthless. — Pete Parks

• The subject of health care is the biggest issue for lobbyists?… well, actually they mean from some of the providers’ viewpoints not a lot on behalf of those needing health care or services or enhancing those needs or services. There are a wonderful few individuals and many accepting legislators that listen also to the affected public, individuals with disabilities, that fight for their rights for equality and to stay or move out of institutions to community and to help achieve a better life without oppression.

We are thankful for those in our corner. One of the lobbyists in this article worked hard to overtake the Developmental Disabilities Council by getting a legislator (that was also president of their organization) to file a bill to mandate their own membership on the DDC, without support or knowledge of the DDC membership or its staff. Unpaid individuals (not paid lobbyists) had to work so very hard to stop such a move. Thank you to those that stand for the rights of people with disabilities. Those that support us, absolutely do deserve support and adequate compensation but, those that only want to be paid to oppress and control through manipulation of legislation deserve to be righteously called out! People with disabilities are not “cash cows”. — Daniese McMullin-Powell

• As of Friday, lobbyists had reported spending $57,429.38 on state officials this year, with about $49,500 of that classified as food and refreshments. The travel category totaled approximately $2,700, while spending on gifts came to almost $2,600 Wondering why as a state employee we weren’t able to accept any type of inducement with any consultant, contractor, association or anyone but it is okay for “lobbyists” to spend money on legislators and other state officials seems those people are in a position to do more damage than a normal state employee. Thought we were all working under the same ethics code! — Dan Maher

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