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Legislative

Published on July 23rd, 2018 | by Nancy Fletcher

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OOH People in Public Office

Nancy Fletcher

Nancy Fletcher OAAA President and CEO


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Civic engagement is an industry tradition. For some, that means serving in public office. As an election approaches, this article spotlights a few of those officeholders. There are many others; please send along information about colleagues in public office (nfletcher@oaaa.org).

State Representative Martin Daniel of Tennessee

In Tennessee, voters are likely to re-elect Martin Daniel to the state Legislature. His day job: owner of Elevation Outdoor Advertising in Knoxville, TN.

For years Daniel was involved in out of home (OOH) industry lobbying at the state Legislature, which sparked his interest in running for office.

“I saw up close and first-hand the adverse impact that rules and regulations could have on businesses and on people,” said Daniel.

He first ran in 2014, defeating an incumbent in the primary. This year, Daniel is seeking a third term in the Tennessee House of Representatives, representing some 67,000 people (District 18, West Knoxville).

“I believe that my experience as an attorney and a small business owner, along with my frequent contact with landowners, other business decision-makers, and government officials, makes me more effective and provides my district with an advantage in our Legislature,” said Daniel.

Siblings Justin and Jena Powell (center) of Huntington Outdoor, with OAAA’s Ken Klein and Nancy Fletcher

On May 8 in Ohio, Jena Powell of Huntington Outdoor Advertising won the Republican nomination for a state legislative seat (District 80). Powell, vice president of sales and marketing at the family-run billboard start-up based in Greenville, is favored to win in the general election in November.

With a marketing degree, Powell, 24, says she is “living her dream of working with small business owners and providing value for their businesses.” Her empathy for small business motivated her to seek public office, to prevent regulatory overreach.

Here is a sampling of other OOH advertising leaders who serve in public office, or did so in the past:

Pettit

Shawn Pettit is a town council member in Merrillville, IN, and an assistant real estate manager for Lamar Advertising Company.

Mike Derby, part owner of Dakota Outdoor Advertising in Rapid City, SD, was a state representative from January 1997 to December 2002.

John Hardee (Lamar Advertising; Columbia, SC) served on South Carolina’s Transportation Commission, 1998-2018.

George Hagemeister (O’Mealia Outdoor and Gannett Outdoor) was a councilmember in Sparta, NJ, for 12 years, and also served as mayor (1968 to 1971). Hagemeister, who led the New Jersey Outdoor Advertising Association, was known as “Mr. Billboard” in New Jersey. He died in 2008 at age 82.

Sean Reilly (Lamar Advertising CEO) represented District 68 (East Baton Rouge Parish) in the Louisiana Legislature from 1988-1996, succeeding his father Kevin Reilly, Sr.

Glynn Willis is serving a second term on the Florence, SC, City Council; he is a real estate manager for Adams Outdoor Advertising.

Lawyers Are Drawn to Politics

More than half of 100 US senators hold law degrees, said a May 15 report from Congressional Research Service.

Other professions that are lesser-represented in politics have an outsized appreciation for their colleagues who hold elected offices:

  • Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY): accountant
  • Sen. John Boozman (R-AR): optometrist
  • Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX): dentist
  • Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT): farmer
  • Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY): orthopedic surgeon
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