Governor Jay Inslee had worked closely with Wilson Strategic during his 2012 campaign to develop a health care platform. In 2013, the Governor’s office called once again requesting help and feedback in creating legislation on mental health integration. The primary challenge was fleshing out the language of the Bill and garnering bipartisan support in the Washington legislature.
Wilson Strategic organized a taskforce to elicit feedback from stakeholders involved in health care integration. Wilson Staff revised and reviewed policy language to ensure that it adhered to the Governor’s health care platform.
Drawing on its deep pool of legislative expertise, Wilson Strategic—by special request of the Governor—lobbied for House Bill 2572 in Olympia and built a broad coalition of support among Democrats and Republicans.
House Bill 2572, and its companion Senate Bill 6312, both passed in the 2014 legislative session. Since then, Wilson Strategic has continued to be part of the conversation of mental health integration in the state.
Attorney Joe Wilson lost a race for Superior Court by more than 15 points, tarnished by repeated news stories on his past problems with alcohol. In 2009, with the death of a sitting judge, a special election was called. While considering a new campaign, Joe Wilson approached Wilson Strategic Communications about handling all messaging, media, and strategy for the campaign. Wilson was particularly concerned about the damage to his reputation from the previous campaign.
Consultants at Wilson Strategic have experience on more than 200 campaigns at every level of government. With a short campaign timeline, WSC set out quickly to mitigate the baggage from the past campaign. In addition to traditional TV advertising and direct mail campaigns, WSC built an innovative social media strategy to organize and disseminate campaign information to allies and supporters.
When US Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina screamed “You lie!” at President Obama during an address before Congress, some excited Facebook users mistook “our” Joe Wilson in their comments with “that” Joe Wilson. Wilson Strategic quickly rolled out a “Not THAT Joe Wilson!” campaign that played on, and capitalized upon, the misnomer. WSC fed the story to Seattle Weekly first, which helped build the story in the online community before it went mainstream. When all was said and done, the story had a 5-day life cycle, running in over 1000 outlets in over 120 countries.
The candidate who once had some concerning history in the previous election cycle was redefined with voters as “our Joe Wilson.”
Our Joe Wilson – the candidate for Superior Court – won his second race by 9 points. Wilson Strategic Communications won a national Reed Award from Campaigns and Elections Magazine for its work as the “Best Earned Media” of the 2009 campaign year.
Columbia United Providers (CUP), Washington’s third largest Medicaid health plan, has provided coverage to patients in the state’s “Healthy Options” Medicaid managed care program since the state launched the program 18 years ago. CUP’s unique relationships with providers resulted in patients having access to doctors that would otherwise not take Medicaid patients. When the Health Care Authority terminated CUP’s Medicaid contract on January 17, 2012, the company turned to Wilson Strategic.
WSC launched an immediate, multi-faceted public affairs campaign within one week. The community, media, and legislators were mobilized in the following ways:
- An issue website – www.patientsloseout.com – updated frequently during the legislative session which became the base camp for a sophisticated social media and email campaign
- Weekly coordination among allied organizations with messaging, talking point distribution and political activation
- Media outreach resulting in multiple stories in The Columbian, PSBJ, on KOIN-TV, NPR, and industry news sites
- An advertising campaign to generate public interest in multiple print media outlets, and which relied on grassroots, community participation generated through online sources
- Organizing and mobilizing provider groups supportive of CUP, leading to legislative outreach, in-person lobbying, and direct communications to legislators from executive level staff in Pierce, King and Clark Counties
- A lobbying effort which quickly lined up legislative support for CUP’s position, resulting in language being adopted in the final 2012 budget at CUP’s request
CUP received unanimous legislative support, by both Democrats and Republicans in the Washington state House and Senate, facilitating CUP’s proposed language. Community recognition of the CUP brand and role in local health care was reenergized. Overall, the result of this public affairs outreach effort was overwhelming legislative and community resources for CUP.