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Message from PAAT President & General Counsel Tom Forbes

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2017 is a big year for PAAT!  I am excited to take over the reigns from Jack Gullahorn and serve as PAAT President.  Jack’s foresight and leadership has resulted in a strong organization that is known for promoting ethical practice and public access to the legislative and administrative process. I am honored to have been asked by Jack and the PAAT Board to take this on. I have known, admired and respected all of the PAAT leadership for many years and this expression of confidence from them makes this even more meaningful for me.

As I begin this new adventure I wanted to invite you to join PAAT and help me build on the successful ethics and advocacy based organization that Jack has created over the past 15 years.  We need your help in our effort to promote a stronger commitment to advocacy professionalism, gained through ethics and advocacy education among the lobby and government affairs community in Texas.

PAAT is the state’s only recognized statewide group for the lobby community. PAAT members are well-respected lobbyists and company/association government affairs representatives who are serious about what they do and are committed to integrity and high ethical standards. However, there are many who may not be aware of the importance of what our organization does for our profession.

PAAT was launched in 2002 with the goal of creating an organization that:

  • represents the interests of the lobby at the Texas Legislature;
  • represents the interests of the lobby at the Texas Ethics Commission;
  • provides a clear understanding of the ethics laws and rules in Texas;
  • creates education opportunities for the lobby & government affairs community; and
  • promotes a positive perception of the lobby profession and underscores the importance of our industry in the legislative process.

Over the past 15 years PAAT has hosted ten annual Ethics Compliance Institutes, supported numerous laws that positively impact our world, and defended against legislation and TEC advisory options that would have had a negative impact on our profession. The organization has also worked hard to address lobby related issues behind the scenes with the media and other stakeholders to ensure our positions and interests have been represented accurately.

Ethics issues are either front page news, or right below the surface at the Capitol and in the Texas media, coming to the forefront when missteps or bad judgment shine a spotlight. And as you may have seen, there has been increased interest in lobby and campaign related activities and reporting in the press and among other key stakeholders. We don’t foresee this focus shifting any time soon.

Through it all, PAAT is there, representing your interests, protecting your rights and keeping you informed. We are attending the meetings, reading the fine print and standing up publicly when we need to so you won’t have to.

I hope you will consider joining our effort. We have a great story to tell but we will be much more effective if the lobby and government affairs community are broadly united in our effort. With a PAAT Membership, you not only make the strongest possible statement about your ethical values, but you and your company/organization will benefit from everything that PAAT offers.

I appreciate your consideration and support of our mission.

Tom