Biz 417: People know you for your work at Missouri State. How does this experience relate to your new role at Hahn DeBoef?
Ryan DeBoef: I’ll be representing the Springfield community and Springfield-area institutions and organizations as they have dealings in Jefferson City. Those dealings can include working with issues at one of the executive agencies. It could be legislative issues—trying to get a bill passed or get language in legislation changed or trying to get a client out of the crosshairs of a bill that has been filed by someone else. It might be appropriations work. I’ve done a lot of appropriations work for Missouri State, so I have relationships, skills and knowledge in that area.
Biz 417: So rather than focusing on one industry, your expertise is about governmental relations from the perspective of southwest Missouri.
R.D.: That’s right! That’s who I am. It became apparent to me that I didn’t want to give up southwest Missouri when I turned the page to that next chapter. I’m a Springfieldian through and through. A lot of things would require me to move or to be out of Springfield all week, every week, all year long. This gives me an opportunity to lean into being a Springfieldian and represent the area I love in the state government.
Biz 417: What would you say to people who hear the word “lobbyist” and have a negative reaction?
R.D.: I’ll give you an analogy. I’m also a lawyer. If somebody sues you or if you need to make a claim against someone else, you hire a lawyer. You could try to figure out a way to represent yourself in court, but for the most part, you need a lawyer to represent you. Legislation and business dealings with the executive branch of the state government are the same. You can handle those things without the assistance of a professional who knows the procedures and has relationships in place to manage that process. But your likelihood of getting to a resolution that you like is much lower if you don’t bring in a professional to help along the way. Lobbyists are professionals who can help manage your issue through the legislative branch or the executive branch of government.