How the WGAW’s political team is helping protect the interests of writers in D.C.
(April 2, 2012)
Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) discusses the Guild’s public policy priorities with Board member Alfredo Barrios and WGAW President Chris Keyser.
The goings-on on Capitol Hill may seem a world away from the writers’ rooms of Los Angeles and the places of solitude (or not) where Guild members pursue their craft. But, in fact, the ties binding Guild members to the political establishment are deep and essential to protecting the interests of writers in the wake of ever-growing media consolidation, a looming Internet showdown, and ongoing assaults on competition in the marketplace.
Working on behalf of Guild members, Political Director John Vezina, Research and Public Policy Director Ellen Stutzman, and a number of WGAW leaders and members consistently and continuously develop and cultivate good relationships with elected officials and leaders in government agencies so they hear and understand issues important to writers. Regular meetings in Washington, D.C. and the submission of in-depth research and policy papers providing the WGAW’s positions to officials and help keep the concerns of writers on their radar screens.
“We’re doing a good job with the FCC and Department of Justice in conveying our views in terms of consolidation and net neutrality,” says WGAW Political Director John Vezina, who journeys to Washington every other month and works closely with Stutzman and the Guild’s fulltime D.C. lobbyist. “It’s clear the more we go and explain the more they’re getting it. We meet with FCC commissioners and members of Congress as well as their staffs. They don’t do that if they feel you’re wasting their time or your concerns aren’t real. There is now an honest understanding and appreciation that writers have a unique perspective.”
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