by Max Brantley
Thought House Speaker Robbie Wills was on the downhill side of leadership, with a regular session behind him? Think again, chump. With the first ever fiscal session coming up, Speaker Wills thinks the House needs a better communications strategy.
So he's hired PR man Craig Douglass, who did work for Wills in the last session, to be the House PR man. (You may recall he submitted an app for the lottery marketing work and was one of the few with close connections to legislative insiders who didn't grab onto a lottery nozzle.) He'll get a $5,000 monthly retainer, 15 percent of gross cost of additional contracted work (there will be plenty) and out-of-pocket expenses.
The news release on this is too full of fulsome verbiage to selectively quote. Read it for yourself.
There's an additional human cost to this new communications strategy. Ten-year House press aide Stephen Steed, a former newspaper colleague of mine, is no longer employed in the House.
Couple of additional things: Douglass, who has been a lobbyist (Deltic, for example) says he will no longer lobby, though he might retain PR relationships with firms that do have legislative interests. The contract with Douglass is with the House. Was there a vote? Wonder what those insurgent young Repubs think about this idea of hiring an aggressive "advocate" for the House. In time, interests among members will diverge.