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When you're looking at a new proposal, how do you
evaluate it differently than other legislators because of
your background as a CPA?
Sure, I can read a balance sheet and I can read a profit and
loss statement, but when I think back to my time in public
accounting, what it really taught me was how to understand
how a business works, and how both government activity
and the marketplace affect that.
You get the ability to see things through the eyes of the
CFO and understand what legislation might mean to a
company's bottom line and, beyond that, what it means
to leadership's ability to maintain the company's staffing.
Changes to regulations and statutes have a huge impact on
businesses, business owners, and employees.
What made you decide to run for your current office?
I was on the Board of Aldermen in my hometown, and I was
on the Planning and Zoning Commission before that. The
local work sparked my interest. I had just finished my MPA
and started a job with an urban planning firm. Incumbent
Richard Belden had just passed away, and my wife and I
agreed that I would quit my job to run for this office.
I had a mortgage, and my wife had just finished school and
started her job. It was a leap.
What does it take to be a successful political candidate?
You need to have an understanding of the issues, find a way
to communicate your views effectively, and do the work.
I think that the three groups of people who know their local
business environment better than anyone are CPAs, lenders,
and realtors. Nobody really knows what's happening in a
local economy better than those groups. And when you're
in those roles, you meet a lot of people. A lot of these folks
already have a base of support.
What advice would you give to other CPAs who are
interested in getting involved with politics?
If you're thinking about running for office, get involved. Go
to everything. Join everything. First of all, you're going to
make new connections that will help you professionally.
Second, you're going to develop relationships that are
going to help you if you run for office.
A lot of CPAs are already doing that; they're already a
member of the chamber, they're already on Rotary, they're
already on a local nonprofit board of directors. They've
already laid the groundwork for a run for office.
"If a legislator gets a dozen
emails on a certain topic, he
or she is going to take notice.
It doesn't take 500 emails to
make a difference."
New Advocacy Action Center
We've make it even easier for you to get
involved and contact your legislators with our new
Advocacy Action Center powered by VoterVoice.
This new technology, generously sponsored by the
Connecticut offices of Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and
PwC, makes it easy to make a connection with your
legislators, even if you don't know them personally.
Make sure your voice is heard on issues vital to the
profession and your business. Just put your own
personalization on the bullet points we provide, and
your message will be sent directly to your legislators.
Action alerts are sent via email, or you
can contact your legislators anytime at
We've made legislative action
faster and easier.
"I was reluctant to reach out to my
state legislators using the CTCPA
Advocacy Action Center, but given
the importance of the issue, I felt I at
least needed to try. I was pleasantly
surprised by how easy and fast it
was to complete the message a majority of the
information was pre-populated with my home
address as well as my specific legislators. The CTCPA
even provided me with some talking points so I
didn't need to start from scratch; I just added a few
personal comments to the message and hit send."
Michael G. Pallein
CTCPA Member and Firm Owner
Connecticut CPA
January/February 2018