Week in Review: Communication

Every week, NPRI President Andy Matthews writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.


Some of you may remember that I started here at NPRI as the Institute’s communications director, and so from the beginning I’ve always had a deep appreciation for the importance of communicating our ideas in a clear, powerful and effective way.

Through the years, our communications operation has grown tremendously, and we’re blessed today to have that operation in the very capable hands of Chantal Lovell. Chantal is hard-working, intelligent and, most important, an outstanding communicator. But you don’t have to take my word for it.

I mentioned last week that I was in Denver for the annual meeting of the State Policy Network, and SPN’s program included the final rounds of the first-ever Great Communicators Tournament. Think Freely Media, the tournament’s sponsor, kicked off the tournament weeks earlier by inviting participants to submit a short video making a moral argument for a free-market policy position.

About 150 people entered, 60 of whom were selected to have their videos posted online to be voted on. Of those 60, the top two vote-getters, plus 10 chosen by judges, advanced to compete in Denver. And those remaining 12 competed over multiple days, making arguments on issues ranging from Medicaid expansion to right-to-work laws to pension reform. Finally, on the penultimate day of the conference, the top three contestants competed live in front of about 900 people.

And when it was all over, our own Chantal Lovell was the last one standing.

I know I speak for everyone here at NPRI when I say that I’m incredibly proud of Chantal for her achievement. But I’m not the least bit surprised. As brilliant as she was on stage, she’s just as superb working day-to-day in the trenches, getting our message out.

What makes her so good is that she understands something very important — that to win the policy arguments, it’s not enough just to have the facts on your side. Statistics, data, econometric analyses — these things are necessary. But when it comes to convincing voters of the merits of our ideas, nothing beats having the right story.

This past summer, we published a policy study finding that approximately 3,610 Nevada jobs would be destroyed if voters pass the margin tax, which will appear as Question 3 on this November’s ballot (if you’re not already up to speed on this issue, see here).

Naturally, we’ll continue to promote the findings of that study over the next few weeks. But at the same time, we’ll be sharing the stories of the individuals behind the numbers.

We’ve already highlighted a few, including:

  • Randy and Kathalynn Thwing, owners of New Standard Manufacturing, which for more than 25 years has been building and selling padlocks here in the Silver State. They say they might have to pick up and leave Nevada if the margin tax takes effect, essentially being forced out of the place they’ve called home since the 1980s.
  • Frank and Lelia Friedlander, who own Las Vegas Window Tinting. They estimate that the margin tax would result in an additional $24,000 on their tax bill. Rather than lay off workers or cut wages, they plan to try to absorb the new cost themselves — which means the tax will hit their family directly.
  • Renee Newman, who runs a construction company along with her husband. Renee says that if Question 3 passes, the company could be forced to close altogether — leaving their 70 current employees jobless.

We hear all the time that the margin tax — revenues from which ostensibly will go toward education — is needed because of what it will do for “the children.” But what about the children of those 70 individuals who work for Renee Newman? Will they really be better off if their parents lose their paychecks?

Public policy doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It has a real-world effect on real people. And in the case of the margin tax, that effect would, in far too many cases, be disastrous. It’s important that we spend the next few weeks making sure our fellow Nevadans understand that.

We need to keep sharing the story of Randy and Kathalynn, and of Frank and Lelia. And others, too. You may have a story of your own, or know someone else who does. If you do, I hope you’ll let us know. Those stories need to be heard.
Thanks for reading — and be sure to drop a congratulatory note to Chantal at cl@npri.org!

Until next time,

Andy Matthews
NPRI President

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