By: Roy Wells
It is hard to believe that I have been involved in Harrisburg public policy since 1988. During my formative years (1988-1994) control of Pennsylvania government was split between the Republicans who controlled the Senate and the Democrats who controlled the House and the Governor’s Office. I experienced firsthand that compromise between party leaders and rank-and-file members was the norm and not the exception. Much of my political philosophy regarding the importance of bipartisanship was shaped during that period.
Though history is not always a predictor of the future, political trends can still provide enough information to consider as one makes business decisions in a political environment. In only 1993, and in no year since, have the Democrats had a trifecta (control of both legislative chambers and the Governor). On the other hand, Republicans have had a trifecta twelve years -1995-2002 and 2011-2014. In the intervening years power has been shared by Democratic Governors 2003-2010 and 2015-2022, with the House Democrats having control in 2007-2010. Over sixteen of the past 20 years, and for the next two to four years, divided government has been and will be the rule in Pennsylvania.
In the world of public affairs and government relations, lobbying firms tended to be viewed along partisan lines, which one would expect in an environment which was becoming increasingly partisan. Some firms that leaned in a partisan direction thrived during the Republican trifectas.
I chose to go in a bipartisan direction and partnered with a former Allegheny County Republican Chairman, staffer to Senator John Heinz, and a former member of Governor Thornburgh’s Administration and now Mike Acker of Governor Ridge’s Administration. We were a bipartisan firm gaining market share during a Republican trifecta. We knew that major issues required support from both sides of the aisle, despite which party was in control. We may not have grown as rapidly as some of our competitors, but our model still proved successful.
Regardless of how control in the State House is resolved over the coming months, political power in Pennsylvania will continue to be split. Triad Strategies has been navigating our clients successfully through this environment over the past twenty years. We do not profit from electoral politics since our clients need to work with key decision-makers regardless of who wins elections. Bipartisanship, our culture, and team centric approach has propelled us to towards the top public affairs firm in Pennsylvania.
Some firms have been successful in entering the race depending upon the political winds. At Triad, we have been running a marathon, where mile markers matter, the pace changes, but the goal always remains the same. At Triad, “We work across the aisle and in the same corner.” I love to talk about our firm and bipartisan team. Feel free to contact me to learn more about how you can achieve the outcome you need from a team you can enjoy working with.