Rapoza Associates acts as an on-the-record spokesperson for several clients. We work with our clients to identify earned media opportunities on the national and local levels, cultivating spokespeople in the organization and helping lend our voice when needed.
In order to be successful both on Capitol Hill and in the media, establishing a clear voice and identity for these mission-driven organizations is imperative. Check out some examples of our firm’s work in the press.
Press Release: Trump Administration Reorganizes USDA and Eliminates Rural Development Position—Landing Another Devastating Blow to Rural Americans
May 11, 2017
Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced plans for a proposed reorganization that establishes an Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agriculture Affairs and eliminates the Under Secretary for Rural Development. Rural Development organizations and experts strongly criticized the elimination of the only subcabinet position with the sole focus of assisting America’s small town and farming communities at USDA, which sends a clear signal from the Administration that rural communities and those who live there, are not a priority.
“This proposal is part of a one-two punch in the gut for Rural America,” said Bob Rapoza, president and founder of Rapoza Associates and the executive secretary for the National Rural Housing Coalition (NRHC). “First, the Administration released a budget proposal that decimates important rural development programs. Then they move on a reorganization plan that downgrades rural development as an important function for USDA.”
Op-Ed in The Hill: Rural America demands the nation’s attention
December 9, 2016
One year ago, I wrote an article titled, Do Presidential Hopefuls Have a Plan for Rural America? Little did I know that rural America had big plans for the presidential election.
Most experts agree that working-class voters in many rural and manufacturing areas felt Washington had overlooked their needs, and they made their voices heard in the 2016 election.
Op-Ed in The Hill: Remembering Small Business During the Presidential Election
July 21, 2016
During a presidential election year, it is impossible to avoid statements on whose political strategy for economic vitality is best. Differing opinions on matters such as taxes, healthcare and education abound. A common theme shared by all is the desire to improve the country, grow the economy and support job creation—and small businesses are an essential part of that equation. This is especially important, as small businesses provide an array of services and goods to their communities and they account for 55 percent of all jobs, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). While many entrepreneurs have creative ideas and sought-after skills, they lack access to the capital required to start, maintain and grow their businesses. Even with access to capital, many people still do not know where to start when it comes to creating a business plan, managing finances and staff—knowledge that is essential to building a solid foundation for their business. The SBA Microloan Program addresses those barriers, providing access to capital and technical assistance.
Op-Ed in The Hill: It’s Been A Very Good Year for Community Development…So Far
December 23, 2015
For 30 years, we’ve been in the business of providing government relations guidance on appropriations, community development, housing and tax issues–working with leaders in the housing and community development industry to push back against the downward trend in federal investments for these programs. On Friday, Congress completed action on the 2016 omnibus spending bill, and a tax extender bill called the PATH Act (Protecting American Against a Tax Hike Act.) The president signed both into law that same day. Enactment of this legislation is a significant accomplishment allowing housing and community development organizations to expand on their success and reach more communities in need. In short, it’s been a very good year for community development; one of the best in a long time.
Op-Ed in The Hill: A Budget Agreement Opens the Door to Economic Growth and Jobs
October 28, 2015
If lawmakers can reach a budget agreement, it could add up to $25 billion for domestic discretionary spending. That will have a tremendous impact on programs big and small in housing and community development world. While the agreement cannot turn back the hands of time, it may stem the tide of budget cutting that has accelerated since enactment of the Budget Control Act and the implementation of the across the board cut, or sequester, which was required by the legislation.
Op-Ed in Government Executive: Spending Turnaround at USDA is Good News for Rural Families
October 7, 2015
In fiscal 2014, for the first time recent memory, the Agriculture Department did not spend all the rural housing loan money it was allocated. Despite pressure from Congress, some $100 million was left on the table at the end of the fiscal year. In addition, a mutual self-help housing grant program — which works in conjunction with the direct loans — left almost $10 million unspent after requiring grantees to take a 10 percent reduction. This year, the new undersecretary for rural development, Lisa Mensah, put pressure on the USDA field structure to get the job done.
Press Release: New Markets Tax Credit Coalition’s Annual Conference in DC at Pivotal Moment for Tax Extenders
December 10, 2014
“The NMTC is a uniquely flexible financial tool for communities in need of revitalization, financing a diverse array of community facilities and other important amenities, including more than 1,200 NMTC projects involved community amenities projects like healthcare and manufacturing facilities, schools, nonprofit service providers and daycare centers between 2003 and 2012,” notes Bob Rapoza, spokesperson for the NMTC Coalition.
Press Release: Report Shows Community Development Groups Create Jobs and Grow Local Economies
December 9, 2014
“Over the last 30 years, federal investments for community development programs have declined by over 75 percent [measured as a share of GDP],” said Bob Rapoza, president and principal of Rapoza Associates. “In response to this, CDCs have skillfully combined limited federal funding with private sector capital to get a payoff for their communities, in terms of improved housing, better community facilities, financing for small business and creation of jobs.”
Press Release: Housing and Community Development Organizations Boosted the Rural Economy by $380 Million and 40,000 Jobs in 2013
December 3, 2014
“Nonprofit organizations have proven their ability to stretch limited federal dollars to make a real impact in rural America,” said Rapoza. “Given tight budgets, Congress and Administration should bolster rural communities by supporting these organizations—and the important programs they use—instead of reducing them.”
Press Release: Rapoza Associates Launches New Website
July 15, 2014
“Now, more than ever, policymakers are skeptical about federal programs and policies. We know arguments based on research and analysis are key in making the case to decision-makers in Washington,” says [Bob] Rapoza. “That’s why we are committed to spending time with clients, taking a hands-on approach to learn the intricacies of their issues, so we can argue the merits of the programs on Capitol Hill–making it clear we know what we are talking about.”
Press Release: Affordable Rental Housing Crisis in Rural America
July 7, 2014
“Rural advocates are deeply concerned that USDA’s current preservation efforts will not be enough to sustain its rental housing portfolio,” says Rapoza. “If Congress and the Administration do not implement real reforms, rural communities may lose this vital resource.”
Op-Ed in The Hill: New markets bill provides a path forward for struggling communities
April 3, 2014
Just a few weeks ago, it seemed like addressing our nation’s tax code was all but impossible this year, but openings for meaningful change have emerged. In the House, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) will begin a review this month of the expired tax credits, determining which may warrant permanency. In response, committee members are introducing bills addressing individual tax provisions, including a bill that would permanently secure the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC).
Press Release: Opposition Mounts to Proposed Cuts in Federal Rural Development Programs
April 15, 2014
“This year, the Administration is at it again, and rural communities are saying they have had enough. We hope Congress’s budget will reflect the fact that rural communities deserve affordable housing and economic development just as much as urban areas,” said Bob Rapoza, NRHC’s executive secretary.
Article in Next City: New Market Tax Credits Set to Expire
“I asked Alison Feighan at the NMTC Coalition if there is any alternative to the program. Are there any other ways to lure investors to low-income neighborhoods?”
“In terms of scale, I don’t think so,” she said. “I don’t see other tools that can step up and take the place of this.”
Press Release: Report Documents Successful Community Revitalization Strategies
December 10, 2013
“CDCs have been working their quiet magic for decades,” Rapoza shares. “Back in the 1960s, when the idea of public-private partnerships was new, CDCs were a novel experiment. Today, they are a proven success and are widely applauded for their ability to achieve results where other economic revitalization strategies have come up short.”