Interest Groups and Mass Media
When Bill Holman goes to work, he dresses differently than other people who practice his profession. He wears a blue suit, a yellow shirt, and a tie depicting a walleyed pike. Most of his cohorts wear gray pin-striped suits, white shirts, and dotted ties. They carry briefcases containing numerous documents. Holman stands out in the halls of the General Assembly—not only in his attire, but also in his message and his effectiveness. A lobbyist for the Conservation Council of North Carolina and the state chapter of the Sierra Club, Holman was recognized as one of the most influential lobbyists in the 1985-86, 1987-88, 1989-90, and 1991-92 sessions of the General Assembly. 1 As the principal environmental lobbyist in North Carolina, Holman symbolizes important developments that are occurring in the state's politics and in interest group activity. The changes are reflected in the number and variety of interests represented, the techniques used by groups, and the influence of groups in the state's politics. These changes, along with the impact of the media, contribute to a developing political pluralism in the state.
Several trends in North Carolina have significance for interest group activity in the state. In the economy, dominated in the past by a few low-skilled manufacturing industries, manufacturing continues to be important but employment in service, trade, and governmental sectors is expanding to create more diverse economic and political interests. Political party competition is creating more vigorous contests for major offices, while the Democrats continue to hold advantage in less visible offices, in an electorate that is more politically unpredictable. A more assertive and professional legislature vies with an executive that is more often led by a Republican governor in defining the political agenda and determining the state's policy directions. 2 These developments open new areas of political, social, and economic pluralism in