• Nicole Herendeen

Navigating Your State and Local Public Affairs Strategy During COVID-19

Presented by Benchmark Strateges

Nicole Herendeen, Senior Public Affairs Associate

May 12, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, government policies and programs have been changing rapidly at the federal and state level. At Benchmark, our team is closely monitoring these updates and engaging policymakers on behalf of different industries from healthcare to cybersecurity to energy.

Since the state of emergency order in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Benchmark is tracking each public health advisory and executive order and its potential impact on the economy and social activity. As the state begins to outline a plan for reopening, we are following the economic reopening process and phased approaches by the governors in Massachusetts and neighboring New England states.

Over recent weeks, Benchmark has been attending remote hearings and events, such as the virtual economic roundtable hosted by the state’s top finance officials and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce “Future of Boston” virtual series. Through these events, we are gaining a firm understanding of the major changes for the state’s public and private sector and the next steps in the future of the Massachusetts, from its economy and recovery to transportation and commuting.

For small businesses, Benchmark is staying up-to-date on the latest resources and funding for key programs established under the CARES Act, including the Paycheck Protection Program and the Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).

Legislative monitoring and reporting has proven to be a crucial resource during the pandemic, particularly as Massachusetts is one of the few states where the Legislature continues to remain in session and transitions to remote lawmaking rules and voting procedures. Our team is tracking significant COVID-19 legislation – including bills focusing on evictions and foreclosures, liability protections, and business interruption and unemployment insurance –and providing bill summaries, recent legislative action taken, and detailed explanations of a bill’s impact on a certain business or industry. Our team continues to build a foundation through direct conversations with public officials and notifying our clients to alerts concerning municipal and state government.

Finally, media communications and social media monitoring continue to be an important facet of Benchmark’s public policy engagement. Through the use of videoconferencing technology, email and other digital platforms, we continue to communicate with external stakeholders that are key to our clients’ advocacy and engagement strategy. For each of our clients, gathering intelligence relating to their industry, examining the outcomes, and outlining next steps moving forward continues to serve as a valuable tool.

As the public affairs landscape experiences new policies and changes, Benchmark’s business and legislative objectives remain the same. Our team continues to adapt and navigate the new COVID-19 reality by finding ways to communicate and educate decision makers and clients on city and state policy responses regarding government and business, while also remaining proactive in terms of engaging and advocating on behalf of our clients.

Connect with Benchmark Strategies to find out more on how we can advise your organization’s economic development and public affairs strategies and goals.

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