Lee Beall got involved in CPA governmental advocacy early in his career, and he’s glad he did.
Beall, a CPA and now CEO at Rea & Associates, Inc., said he didn’t start with an interest in politics but now thinks “it’s fascinating.
“I love it,” he said. “I never in my life cultivated political connections intentionally… there are those who are more naturally inclined to be involved in politics, and those who just fall into it. I don’t have a passion for getting involved in the political side, but for business reasons you have to have access.”
Ultimately it was those business reasons that drove his decades-long involvement in OSCPA’s Key Contact Program. Beall moved to Dublin, Ohio in 1978 and first served on OSCPA’s public relations committee. Seeing his knack for interpersonal communication, then CEO Clarke Price and Barbara Benton, CAE, now OSCPA’s VP of Governmental Affairs, asked Beall to get involved with OSCPA’s endorsement committee.
He said his views of the process and of legislators were changed by his experience.
“It’s not that we’re trying to buy business or buy influence,” Beall said. “We just need access if we are going to get our views heard,” he said. “And the legislators for the most part are just regular people – they are just trying to do a job.”
He said his participation is also not about his own political affiliation.
“What people need to understand is, this is not about your political views,” Beall said. “It’s about business. I have voted for OSCPA to endorse people that I didn’t vote for personally, because I have to separate that.”
He said it is harder to get CPAs involved in the process than when he started, yet it’s more important that they do.
“Because of term limits, legislators need more than ever to be informed on topics.”
For CPAs, the time commitment is small and they can reap professional benefits from helping out, such as business and governmental knowledge, an expanded network and potential business leads. He said that’s especially true for those in businesses impacted heavily by government action, and for CPAs just starting their careers.
“If you’re a younger OSCPA member and want to be a star at your firm, you might consider it,” Beall said. “If you want to be engaged in the political process, contact Barb and her staff and they will make the connections for you.”
Become a Key Contact
OSCPA's Key Contact Program helps you educate your local legislators on the issues affecting you and your clients, and provide your local legislators with a trusted sounding board on relevant issues of concern to them.
Key Contacts are CPAs who recognize the difference that individuals can make in the legislative process. Their responsibilities are few: OSCPA watches events at the Ohio Statehouse and on Capitol Hill, and when an issue arises for which we need grassroots input, we activate our Key Contacts. We supply detailed materials that provide the necessary background so you can call, write or visit your legislator.
If you don’t know a lawmaker, don’t let that deter you. The Governmental Affairs team will help. And party affiliation should not be an obstacle. Your legislator represents the entire district, so you need not be member of his or her political party to establish a relationship.