Today, approximately half of all American states have lobbying offices in Washington, DC, where governors are also represented by their own national, partisan, and regional associations. Jennifer M. Jensen’s The Governors’ Lobbyists draws on quantitative data, archival research, and more than 100 in-depth interviews to detail the political development of this constellation of advocacy organizations since the early 20th century and investigate the current role of the governors’ lobbyists in the U.S. federal system.
First, Jensen analyzes the critical ways in which state offices and governors’ associations promote their interests and, thus, complement other political safeguards of federalism. Next, she considers why, given their apparent power, governors engage lobbyists to serve as advocates and why governors have created both individual state offices and several associations for this advocacy work. Finally, using interest group theory to analyze both material and political costs and benefits, Jensen addresses the question of interest group variation: why, given the fairly clear material benefit a state draws from having a lobbying office in Washington, doesn’t every state have one?
This assessment of lobbying efforts by state governments and governors reveals much about role and relative power of states within the U.S. federal system.
“This book is an extremely valuable contribution to our understanding of the key intergovernmental organization in the U.S.—the National Governors Association. Professor Jensen provides a careful and well-documented longitudinal analysis of this important peak association representing states. She also fills an important gap by recognizing and analyzing the increasingly important roles of partisan governors’ organizations.”
—Carol Weissert, Florida State University
“Jensen’s book provides a first clear look at the role of intergovernmental lobbying in Washington by the states. It is an important contribution that should be of interest to a wide range of scholars of American politics.”
—Beth Leech, Rutgers University
“Jensen explores three puzzles: the federalism puzzle, the lobbying puzzle, and the proliferation puzzle. Each chapter displays Jensen’s meticulous research; everything is fully researched and verified. A special contribution is her thoughts on the impact of partisanship and party polarization on the NGA’s functioning.”
—Virginia Gray, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
: Credit Elizabeth Phillips