The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce today announced the appointment of Mike Huckins as Vice President of Public Affairs. Huckins will spearhead the Chamber’s lobbying efforts at the Capitol, oversee the Chamber’s public affairs and seven issue committees, as well as provide leadership for the Chamber’s internal public affairs team.
“We are thrilled to welcome Mike to the Chamber’s public affairs team,” said Todd Sanders, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. “His extensive knowledge of the Legislative process, strong connections with members and staff, as well as his deep understanding of the State’s budget process, make him a valuable addition to the Chamber.”
“I’m very excited to join the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce,” said Mike Huckins, Vice President of Public Affairs. “I’m looking forward to my new advocacy role as the “voice of business” for the Chamber’s 2,500+ member organizations and collaborating on critical input to policy decisions to best represent the interests of business during the upcoming legislative session.”
Added Sanders, “We are confident Mike’s expertise, guidance, and leadership will result in many successful legislative cycles for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and our member businesses. The voice of local business will be heard at the Capitol and at the City of Phoenix.”
Prior to joining the Chamber, Huckins served as Director of Research for the House of Representatives, a position he has held with distinction since 2009. His tenure at the House began in 1999 as a Legislative intern. He was subsequently promoted to assistant research analyst and then to senior research analyst for the Appropriations Committee.
With the legislative session just on the other side of the new year, Huckins is very busy, but took time out to answer a few questions about his experience and new role. To read the Q & A with Mike Huckins in its entirety, click here.
Q. Give us a sense of your background in public affairs, which has led you to this position.
A. I started my career as an intern at the Arizona House of Representatives in 1999 and spent the last 15 years there. For the last five years, I have been the House’s Research Director, responsible for the research team of analysts, assistant analysts and interns. I also staffed the Appropriations Committee where I was responsible for presenting and explaining bills with fiscal impact, the final budget proposals to House members and coordinating the flow of amendments on bills.
Q. What was attractive to you about your new position as vice president of public affairs?
A. When you’ve been inside the legislature for that long, it’s easy to get insulated and not really see the impact that bills make on actual business people. It was intriguing to me to have the chance now to see how things that go on at the legislature actually impact business from the other side. The opportunity to make a difference and to help Arizona’s economy is quite an attractive proposition.
Q. With the new legislative session just over a month away, obviously to call it “hitting the ground running” is an understatement. What are your objectives going into the session?
A. I hope to ensure the Chamber remains very visible at the Capitol, which entails everything from meeting with legislators to showing the business community that they are actively represented and that we’re working on and monitoring bills that impact them. I’m trying to get up to speed very quickly on our internal processes so we can be efficient and make the most of the time in the leadup to the session. And veterans like PAC Chairman John Moody and Public Affairs Committee Chair Susan Anable will be invaluable to me. They’re the experts, and while I have experience in the legislative world, I’m new to this side of it, so I will be learning from them.
Q. How do you see the Chamber’s role in making sure the voice of business is heard by elected officials at all levels of government?
A. I think our biggest role will be making sure members get involved and stay involved. If they don’t do that, it doesn’t matter what we do. Whether it’s coming to public affairs committee meetings or being a part of an issue committee, our members have a multitude of ways to really “get their hands dirty” in the process. And anyone who thinks the legislature does things in secret should attend for an afternoon or a day and see how it all happens. It’s good for legislators to see more than just the “usual suspects” they see on a daily basis. And it helps reinforce that the business community is involved.