North Carolina’s legislative “short session” is just days away, and we look forward to seeing new and familiar faces alike walking the halls of the General Assembly soon. In the meantime, we’re taking a moment to reintroduce ourselves, our firm and the clients we feel honored to represent as we prepare to return to Jones Street and wrap up the second half of the 2021-22 biennium. 

What we do.

Kairos is a Greek word meaning “the perfect time, an opportune or propitious moment for decisive action, the moment of truth” and, true to our namesake, it’s with this nuanced approach that the Kairos Government Affairs (KGA) team works for all of its clients. Navigating the political process and building coalitions to reach even the most complex policy goals is what we’re best at, and we love advocating on behalf of our clients and achieving the legislative and regulatory solutions they need. We are fortunate to represent a variety of interests before North Carolina’s decision-makers and work on a wide variety of policy issues, ranging from clean energy to victims’ rights to combating the opioid crisis. No two days are the same in the government affairs world and, while the active legislative session represents our “busy season,” effective government affairs work never really rests.

Who we are.

While our backgrounds and the paths that brought us here are diverse, our team shares a number of core values, including a passion for service and finding great lunch spots around Raleigh. Here’s what each of our team members has to say about life as a government affairs professional and what drives them on and off of Jones Street:

Brittany Conrad – Executive Assistant

How has your background best prepared you for your role today?

As a former special education teacher, I spent my days studying the unique needs of my students and strategizing methods to support their learning and growth. There is so much that aligns with the work I do now: understanding each client’s unique needs and building strategy to achieve their goals. 

What is something that makes the KGA team unique?

The KGA team compares to no other team I’ve worked on in my career. Not only does the KGA team work hard, but they are also always ready and willing to serve their community.  Even when the days are long (and the sessions are even longer), the KGA team knows how to have fun and the importance of connecting as a team to lay a foundation that supports the everyday work.

Lobbying is represented in various ways in the media and pop culture. What do you think is misunderstood about the profession? 

The most common misconception I hear about lobbying is the perception that it’s so easy. The amount of time poured into relationship-building and understanding content often happens behind the scenes and goes unnoticed by those outside of the world of politics. There is never really a time to lay down the work or be off your guard. The partners at Kairos are always on alert and some of the most responsive professionals I know. 

What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

The most rewarding part of working in this field is by far the relationship-building and seeing advocacy come to fruition for clients. It’s a privilege to work on a variety of issues and needs for clients across so many fields, and then to support their work through strategic planning on policy changes or needs. 

What makes the KGA team a well-rounded and effective firm?   

When you work on a team that values serving others, even when the workload is heavy, the burden feels light. The Kairos team is effective due to their intentional relationship building, their work ethic and their rapid response, but most of all because of the heart behind it all. 

Scott Laster – Managing Partner

What is one key ingredient to being a successful lobbyist? 

Honesty is #1 – you will not be lobbying for long if you lie to legislators, and being around for a long time is your measurement of success.

Why is it important for clients to hire lobbyists and have a government affairs strategy?

I can give you a perfect example based on a true story. Two groups had similar legislative needs but only one group had a lobbyist. That group was able to influence the legislation to their favor which was not in the best interest of the group without the lobbyist. The group without the lobbyist didn’t know it had happened until after the fact. 

How are you best equipped to serve your clients effectively?

My campaign background has really guided me as we approach a policy “campaign” for our clients. Messaging, timing, knowing the audience – it all comes into play.

Outside of work, how do you serve your community?

I am a volunteer EMT and serve on a Search and Rescue team. I am mostly focused on swift water rescue but have participated in numerous land search and rescue events. I also coach our sons’ flag football team!

What professional accomplishments are you most proud of? What are you currently working toward?

Certainly I would have to point to our success during the 2010 elections for the House GOP. And then again the outcomes we enjoyed at the NCGOP after the 2012 election. And now, I get to have continued accomplishments working with the best team on the best policy outcomes. Everyday brings a renewed sense of purpose, and I feel extremely blessed to be doing the work that I am doing.

Betsy McCorkle – Partner

What draws you to the government affairs profession?  

Getting to have an effect on something bigger than myself. Advocating for legislation that will have a positive impact on people’s lives (lowering energy costs, reducing opioid overdose deaths, securing constitutional rights for victims of crime, etc.). 

What is the most rewarding part of your job?  

The best part is bringing information to an elected official that he or she can rely on. Making their difficult job easier because they can rely on information from me and our firm is very rewarding.

Outside of work, how do you serve your community? 

I serve young enlisted members of our military and their families as a member of the Board of Directors for the Susan M. Tillis Foundation. I am also currently active in leading a campaign to raise $85,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of North Carolina.

If you could sum up lobbying in one sentence, how would you describe it?  

Decisive action in an opportune moment!

Why is it important for clients to hire lobbyists and have a government affairs strategy?  

If you’re not at the table, you’re probably on the menu.

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