Bill Novelli
CEO, American Ass. of Retired Persons (AARP)

Re: Who really has the power in Washington?

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Novelli points to the pharmaceutical industry and the AARP.

Bill Novelli

Bill Novelli is CEO of AARP, a membership organization of 40 million people age 50 and older, half of whom remain actively employed. AARP’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for all as we age.  Prior to joining AARP, Mr. Novelli was President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, whose mandate is to change public policies and the social environment, limit tobacco companies’ marketing and sales practices to children and serve as a counterforce to the tobacco industry and its special interests. He now serves as chairman of the board.  He was also Executive Vice President of CARE, the world’s largest private relief and development organization.

Mr. Novelli is a recognized leader in social marketing and social change, and has managed programs in cancer control, diet and nutrition, cardiovascular health, reproductive health, infant survival, pay increases for educators, charitable giving and other programs in the U.S. and the developing world.  His book, 50+: Give Meaning and Purpose to the Best Time of Your Life, was updated in 2008.  Mr. Novelli serves on a number of boards and advisory committees.  He holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. from Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication, and pursued doctoral studies at New York University.

It depends on how you measure power. You know there are a lot of people . . . You mentioned the pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical industry has a lot of power because they have a lot of money, and they know how to spread that money around. AARP, I think, does have a lot of power. And that’s because we have lot of voters. And we have a lot of people who are activists. And we have big numbers. We’re up to 39.2 million members. So it depends on how you define power and how you try to use power. As far as me being one of the most powerful lobbyists, lots of people said, “Hey, congratulations!” And I said, “It ain’t me. It’s AARP.”

Recorded on: 9/27/07