Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Building a Lawmaker Relationship: Texas Banker Mike Mauldin Gets to Know His Representatives by Providing Expertise to Congressional Staff, Participating in Fundraising and Having an Open Door Policy

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Building a Lawmaker Relationship: Texas Banker Mike Mauldin Gets to Know His Representatives by Providing Expertise to Congressional Staff, Participating in Fundraising and Having an Open Door Policy

Article excerpt

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All grassroots advocacy builds up to making an ask. And when it comes time for the big ask, it helps to have a solid relationship with the lawmaker you're trying to reach, says Michael Mauldin, president and CEO of First Financial Bank's Hereford, Texas, region.

For Mauldin, that relationship abruptly changed in 2013, when the Texas panhandle town of Hereford was among those moved from Rep. Randy Neugebauer's district to Rep. Mac Thornberry's. Mauldin--the incoming chairman of ABA's Bankers and Advocacy Grassroots Committee--knew it would be essential to build a strong relationship with his new representative on Capitol Hill. The recipe for a strong lawmaker relationship is equal parts personal connection, fundraising and networks with congressional staff, Mauldin says. And it's often best to start with the staff.

"The staff are as anxious to get to know you as you were to get to know them. They are always looking for sources of reliable information," he explains. "I've always tried to be that whenever they have any questions and I have the knowledge or expertise."

This was especially important for Mauldin during the redistricting. As a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, Neugebauer had strong expertise and staff support on banking issues. While Thornberry has experience working on cybersecurity, most of his legislative attention has been focused on military, intelligence and agriculture issues. His staff could thus benefit from Mauldin's advice and insights on banking.

"I want to be one of those people they call on," he says. "Once you create that relationship, they'll call on you for advice." He maintains an open lunch invitation for Thornberry's staff to swing by whenever they're in Hereford. …

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