Now its The Democrats’, Charlotte’s and My Turn

By Bill Leonard, Sr. Writer,
SHRM Online

The political spotlight now swings to the Democrats and my hometown of Charlotte, N.C. I’ll be right in the thick of Democratic National Convention, as I travel back home to cover the proceedings and the activities of SHRM at the convention.

SHRM has always maintained a strong political and policy-making presence in Washington, D.C., and a group of SHRM staffers and volunteer leaders will carry on that tradition in Charlotte. We will be attending briefings and discussions on work-related policies that will play a pivotal role in the November presidential election. I plan on writing several stories on events and decisions that will have an impact on the election and on how HR professionals perform their jobs.

The Republicans wrapped up their convention on Thursday (8/30/2012) night, and while Mitt Romney got a slight bump in the polls, the race still is incredibly tight with Romney and President Barack Obama in a virtual dead heat.

The excitement level in Charlotte most likely will differ quite a bit from Tampa, mainly because there won’t be a hurricane taking a sideswipe at the city. Still the dynamic is going to be a bit different for the Democrats as they nominate Obama for his second term, and the Republicans seek to unseat him. I was in Denver in 2008, and I definitely feel a much different level of excitement today than from the events leading up to the political conventions four years ago. In 2008 for the Democrats, it was about making a change and seeking a new direction as they chose to make history and nominated an African-American to head their party’s ticket for president for the first time. The feeling of change and a historic moment was palpable in Denver four years ago.

Now that’s changed, as the Republicans have become the challengers, and the Democrats are looking to survive a surely brutal campaign and are hoping for any positive economic signs that could help ensure Obama’s re-election. Creating jobs and opportunities for all Americans seems to be foremost in everyone’s mind, and for that reason alone the HR profession will have a key role to play. SHRM officials will make sure the profession has a voice in this most critical decision-making process.

So stay tuned, it should be a fun and exciting time in my hometown.

Immigration Buzz @ The RNC

By: Rebecca Peters, Director & Counsel for Legislative Affairs  

We’ve wrapped up our week at the Republican National Convention and have lots of good immigration-related news to share.

As presidential nominee Mitt Romney said in his speech on Thursday night, “We are a nation of immigrants,” so we were encouraged that the GOP included immigration issues in two key sections of their platform, released Tuesday,that address rebuilding the economy and creating jobs, as well as reforming the government to serve the people.

Of most interest, however, the Republicans recognized an advocacy message ACIP has long delivered to Washington, namely that it is “critical the United States has a highly trained and skilled workforce … [including] by a policy of strategic immigration, granting more work visas to holders of advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math from other nations.” Read the GOP platform, including sections that address green cards for STEM advanced degrees, SAVE, E-Verify and border security here.

Mitt Romney wasn’t the only speaker talking about immigration during the Convention – on Wednesday night, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, “We must continue to welcome the world’s most ambitious people to be a part of us.”

Throughout the week, ACIP’s Lynn Shotwell and Rebecca Peters were on the ground discussing this important message, along with other high-skilled, employment-based immigration solutions at numerous GOP 2012 events.  View photos of some of the events here.

In particular, ACIP had the opportunity to attend the SHRM-sponsored National Journal event titled “Compare the Candidates.” Immigration was a reoccurring theme in the discussion – in an interview between National Journal’s Major Garrett and Dr. Lanchee Chen, Policy Director for Mitt Romney, Chen made clear that should there be a Romney administration, the focus would be on long-term immigration reform off the bat. And while the Romney camp believes President Obama’s recent deferred action policy has put a chilling effect on the broader immigration debate through its focus on politics before policy, Dr. Chen believes “the public is hungry for an immigration solution,” one he believes the government must partner with employers to solve. Watch Lynn Shotwell’s readout afterwards here.

As we repeated throughout the Convention, ACIP stands ready to partner with the government on high-skilled, employment-based immigration solutions this year and with the new Congress in 2013, especially given the bipartisan support for more green cards for foreign-born advanced STEM degrees holders from U.S. universities.

Tune in next week to get ACIP’s immigration policy read out from the Democratic National Convention at: and follow us on Twitter (@ACIPimmigration) for up to the minute news.

All Clear in Tampa: But Isaac Still Looms: by Roy Maurer (@SHRMRoy)

First, a recap: While I, your SHRM correspondent, was trapped in southeast Florida because of the unpredictability of Hurricane Isaac’s path, Republican National Convention officials decided to cancel Monday’s events. After being given clearance to fly and a bumpy ride through storm clouds in a Beechcraft puddle jumper, I set down in a bucolic, unmussed Tampa on Monday night.

There, I got right into the spirit of the event thanks to the SHRM Government Affairs staff, who had entrée into one of the occasion’s most exclusive gatherings—Speaker of the House John Boehner’s “warehouse party,” which was held at a secret location downtown. While these festivities were off the record, SHRM made a fine showing and the Speaker was in good form.

Convention-goers woke Tuesday to clearing skies as Isaac churned west over the Gulf and the SHRM contingent came together at the leonine Tampa Club, complete with expansive 42nd-floor views of this city of bays and bridges. The Tampa Bay Times Forum was strangely quiet before the gathering of GOP delegates got under way in earnest with a packed schedule that included the roll call to officially select Mitt Romney as Republican nominee for president.

The SHRM staff and CEO Hank Jackson dropped in on the IMPACT 2012 Change Agents roundtable, where Hank spoke about the importance of closing the skills gap in America and the issues young people face as they look to enter the workforce.

“We have a vision where all people are treated with respect in the workplace, with workflex policies in place and free of discrimination,” he told those assembled and viewing live in cyberspace.

Immediately following the IMPACT event, the group made its way to historic Ybor City and the National Journal’s Compare the Candidates policy discussion. The forum took place in an iconic building that was once central to Tampa’s Spanish-speaking immigrant cigar-making community—and is now refurbished into a swanky steakhouse.

The National Journal’s Major Garrett interviewed Mitt Romney’s policy director, Dr. Lanhee Chen, touching on front-of-mind issues from health care to job creation to tax policy and immigration.

This correspondent spent the remainder of the evening around fellow politicos watching the coverage from the convention floor. Tuesday’s nomination brought Romney into the home stretch of the long race to the White House. Delegates danced in the aisles between speeches and cheered predictions that Romney would be the next president of the United States.

Meanwhile, Isaac bore down on the Gulf coast, giving the Romney team pause about the future of the convention, including possible worst-case scenarios that would involve some major event reworking in order to not appear insensitive to plighted fellow Americans.

To be continued …

HR Pros: Have You Compared the Candidates? by Mary Kaylor

On August 28, SHRM sponsored National Journal’s “Compare the Candidates” policy forum event at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. The forum featured an interview conducted by National Journal Editorial Director Ron Brownstein with Mitt Romney’s Director of Policy, Lanhee Chen and a panel discussion with National Journal Political Correspondent Major Garrett, CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley and Washington Examiner Chief Political Correspondent Byron York.

SHRM CEO Hank Jackson delivered opening remarks for the afternoon event which was live-streamed to SHRM members via the Have A Voice website.

The event examined Governor Romney’s vision for America and a broad range of public policy issues that directly affect the HR profession like the skills gap and immigration reform.   SHRM We Know Next conducted a Twitter chat concurrent with the event to engage followers with questions such as:

· “If you were the President, how would you create jobs?”
· “What impact will the fiscal cliff have on HR?” and
· “As an HR professional, what are you doing to address the skills gap?”

In an interview after the event, Jackson said, “I think it’s important for SHRM to be present at the political conventions because all of the issues this time are related to HR… the skills gap, putting people back to work, and flexible work arrangements… these are issues that are critical to SHRM and our profession, and it’s important for us to have a voice at each convention.”

SHRM will sponsor a second “Compare the Candidates” event at 3 p.m. on September 4 at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Stay tuned to Have A Voice for more!

Isaac Brings Rain and SHRM Staff to HR Florida’s Annual Conference

The clouds rolled into Florida this past Monday, and so did members of the SHRM/ACIP staffs.    As part of SHRM’s Get Out The Vote effort, and participation in the National Presidential Conventions, members of SHRM’s Government Affairs, Editorial and Pubic Affairs Departments, as well as ACIP staff, joined HR Florida where Senior Vice President of Membership, Marketing and External Affairs, Bob Carr, welcomed conference attendees. 

In a unique member engagement opportunity, Vice President of Government Affairs, Mike Aitken, provided an election outlook/public policy update to attendees and an overview of SHRM’s efforts while at the conventions. The HR Florida conference welcomed more than 1,700 attendees and provided HR professional valuable programming and stellar speakers. 
SHRM staff represented the HR profession at the Republican National Convention – August 26 – 30th in Tampa, FL, and will be heading to the Democratic National Convention – September 2 – 6th in Charlotte, NC. SHRM will also host a member engagement event in Charlotte for local SHRM chapter and council members.  SHRM does not have a Political Action Committee, engage in political campaign activity or endorse candidates running for elected office, but recognizes that participation in the National Conventions provides a unique opportunity to showcase SHRM, the HR profession and while advocating on effective workplace public policy.

Bringing Your Issues to Policymakers and Bringing the Conventions to You!

By: Rebecca Peters, Director & Counsel for Legislative Affairs, ACIP (@acipimmigration)

ACIP’s first national convention experience is officially underway!

As part of our new strategic affiliation with SHRM, we are able to take our advocacy messages on the road to the Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention – raising the profile of the need for high-skilled, employment-based immigration reform and showing America’s policymakers the key role ACIP’s and SHRM’s members can play in driving economic growth and job creation.

Alongside SHRM staff, we’ll be taking this special opportunity to speak with the captive policy audiences at both conventions to spread our message on the critical importance of reform. With the economy a key issue in this election, we plan to raise awareness among campaigns and other stakeholders about the role top world talent, particularly those with U.S. advanced STEM degrees, can play in bolstering the economy and stimulating our nation’s innovation.

In line with SHRM’s advertising campaign on the role of HR in leadership (check out the new commercial airing on CNN during the conventions here), we’ll be discussing how high-skilled, employment-based immigration reform has become a top issue for those individuals leading organizations in America, and the role it can play in the future of our economic growth and human capital strategies in a 21st century global economy.

I look forward to sharing information and on-the-ground insights from Tampa and Charlotte in the next two weeks! Be sure to check out my daily live tweeting @ACIPimmigration.


#SHRM Online Goes to Tampa — by Roy Maurer

It should be a grand old party in Tampa, Fla., August 27-30, when an estimated 50,000 delegates, alternate delegates, media types, tea partiers, Occupiers, networkers, glad-handers, fist-pumpers, Vice President Biden, heavy rain bands and 50 mph wind gusts from TS Isaac converge to nominate Mitt Romney as the next president of the United States at the 40th Republican National Convention.

The theme for this year’s quadrennial event is “A Better Future,” a slogan meant to remind voters of the Republican Party’s plans to address high unemployment, skyrocketing debt, the economic imperative of energy independence, and plans to strengthen the middle class and small businesses.

Ahead of the GOP convention, polls show the contenders statistically neck-in-neck. The most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows President Barack Obama at 48% and his Republican challenger at 44%, with a margin within the poll’s sampling error. The results are in line with the other two polls included in the latest CNN Poll of Polls, which averaged the three most recent surveys to find Obama at 47% and Romney at 43%.

By most predictions, bad weather looms ahead for Tampa during Convention week as Tropical Storm Isaac heads along a western track, dumping rain on the island of Hispaniola today and swirling about 1,000 miles off the Florida coast as of 11 a.m., according to the National Hurricane Center.

From Sunday afternoon through Tuesday, forecasts have Tampa likely seeing heavy rain that could flood streets, gusts of tropical-force winds that could close bridges and a possible storm surge that could flood low-lying areas such as the fine Spanish-styled lodgings on Tampa’s Interbay Peninsula I’m scheduled to be hunkered down in and the Tampa Bay Times Forum, GOP convention HQ.

Follow me, your SHRM correspondent for the next few days as I maneuver through the RNC, with perspectives from the convention floor, from around the security perimeter, from a variety of policy events and watch parties and a scheduled side trip to the HR Florida Conference in nearby Orlando.

And wish me some blue skies.