When I heard the newly inaugurated Governor Andrew Cuomo announce that the second floor of the New York State Capitol would be reopened to the public, it reminded me of my tour of the building a few years ago. That was when I learned how the word “lobbyist” became part of our language.
Just outside each of the chambers where the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly meet is a lobby where individuals with special interests may gather and wait to approach the state representatives. Over the years as these members of the public waited in the lobby for opportunities to advance their specific causes, they became known simply as “lobbyists.”
At the time of my tour, the guide said that the coining of the word actually started in the halls of the New York State Capital. Delving a little deeper, however, I have since learned that the history of the word may be traced to the halls of the British Parliament.
Regardless of its derivation, each time I hear the term “lobbyist” now, I picture the chamber anterooms of the beautiful New York State Capitol.