Sharing our voice in Washington, D.C.

 

 
 

health and fitness expo
Representing Kellogg at the Congressional Health & Fitness Expo.

I've found government and politics interesting ever since the time my Ohio elementary school held a faux election around the 1992 presidential race. We didn’t pick the eventual winner, but it was a solid lesson in democracy: every vote – and every voice – matters.

So, with my interest in communications and politics, and professional experiences in PR and government, a career in corporate government relations seemed like a natural fit. Today, I work to advance Kellogg’s policy priorities with elected officials in Washington, DC.

To paraphrase a favorite quote, I often say, “even if you don’t care about politics, it cares about you.” Public policy permeates everything we do, from the price we pay for groceries and toll roads to the regulations around e-commerce and privacy. For a business like Kellogg that employs tens of thousands of people and sells food in almost 200 countries, it’s imperative we share our perspective with legislators whose policies affect our operations.

”For a business like Kellogg that employs tens of thousands of people and sells food in almost 200 countries, it’s imperative we share our perspective with legislators whose policies affect our operations.”

For example, at Kellogg we’re committed to helping address food security. We’re focused on the interconnected issues of wellbeing, hunger relief and climate resiliency to fulfill our Kellogg’s® Better Days commitment to create Better Days for 3 billion people by the end of 2030. Because of this priority, we feel strongly about programs that provide food assistance to low-income neighbors in need.

school breakfastIn partnership with No Kid Hungry, we welcomed Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) to Cityside Middle School in Zeeland, Michigan to see a successful school breakfast program in action.

Today, the federal government provides free and reduced-priced school meals to children under a certain household income. But during the summer when school is out, families spend an extra $316 per month on food. In partnership with our non-profit partners, we’re working with legislators to make summer meals more accessible to help these families.

To share our perspective, my colleagues and I spend a lot of time meeting with members of the U.S. House and Senate and their staffs, whether in congressional offices, at campaign events or at our plants in their home districts. People often ask what it’s like to talk to a senator or representative; they’re usually very receptive and friendly. After all, it’s their job to understand the issues in their districts and to represent their constituents back home.

I know this firsthand from my work prior to Kellogg. One of my early jobs was as a legislative correspondent on Capitol Hill. My role focused on responding to constituents’ questions and concerns. This was a great opportunity to learn about the many issues affecting Americans, and to see the importance of representative government.

Erin and her husband
My husband Ian and I at the Library of Congress.

I recommend this type of experience to anyone interested in government relations. Volunteer for a campaign to understand what gets someone elected. Work for an elected official to learn how our government operates.

Sound public policy is crucial to creating the right conditions for businesses to grow and citizens to thrive. Since joining the Kellogg Government Relations team, I’ve been excited to see how we help drive our Deploy for Growth business strategy and corporate responsibility goals by working with elected officials. And in today’s fast-moving political environment, I know our work will only become more vital.