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Lobbyist Scott Marrs spent most of the 2010 legislative  session working to soften the blow of more than $900 million in budget  cuts for his clients, including the city and county.
Lobbyist Scott Marrs spent most of the 2010 legislative session working to soften the blow of more than $900 million in budget cuts for his clients, including the city and county.

Tight budgets make lobbying tough for Marrs

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Scott Marrs considers himself to be a hired gun in the state capital.

Marrs - owner of lobbying firm Governmental Services Group Inc. and guest Tuesday morning at Springfield Business Journal's 12 People You Need to Know breakfast event - spent most of the 2010 legislative session working to soften the blow of more than $900 million in budget cuts for his clients, which include the city of Springfield, City Utilities, Springfield Public Schools and the Greene County Commission.

In fact, Marrs said his biggest victory in the 2010 Missouri legislative session was that most of his clients "weren't hurt terribly by budget cuts."

And the job, he adds, won't get much easier next year, as a combination of continued rough financial straits and legislator turnover continue to make his job tough.

"The system is made to prevent legislation from passing, not to let it through," he said, noting that of the 2,000 bills introduced in the General Assembly each year, only about 100 will pass.

Marrs is used to working behind the scenes - certainly not as the center of attention, where he was Tuesday morning.

"We like to be in the shadows, doing what we like to be doing," he told the crowd of nearly 50 gathered at The Tower Club. "We usually don't like to be in front of a lot of people."

And what is it Marrs usually "likes to be doing"? As a lobbyist, he said, his job is to help legislators - who usually are elected by focusing on a handful of topics such as education and health care - understand other issues with which they may not be as familiar.

Marrs admitted that some lobbyists have given the profession a less-than-stellar reputation, but he said he follows several rules to maintain integrity in his job. The No. 1 rule: Tell the truth.

That means not adding clients in the gambling, tobacco or alcohol industries - not necessarily because of a moral objection, but because his other clients, including the Branson/Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and area health care organizations, object.

"My credibility is more important to me than taking on a client for financial compensation," Marrs said.[[In-content Ad]]

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