Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often elected officials and regulatory officials who are appointed to their positions.
Mayor, city council members, state legislators, U.S. senators, U.S. representatives, and the president of the United States are elected officials. However, some federal and state officials are appointed, including the heads of the departments in the executive branch, such as the secretaries of education and health and human services. Many senior officials in state executive branches–such as in the Department of Agriculture and Labor–receive their jobs through the approval of some combination of elected officials. For example, the governor might nominate an individual to run the state Department of Revenue, but the state Senate must confirm him or her.
The appointed officials in these branches and departments are regulatory officials. However, there are also permanent employees in these branches and departments that remain in their positions no matter who is elected. Knowing who is an elected official, who is an appointed official, and who has permanent position may affect your lobbying approach. Understanding how an official got his or her job may influence how you lobby your position on an issue. It may also provide insight about how the official will react to you or your issue when you make contact.