New West Public Affairs
New West Public Affairs is a Colorado issue advocacy and public relations firm operated by Jake Zambrano and Mike Ciletti that specializes in lobbying, campaign management and grassroots advocacy campaigns. According to its Web site, New West works to influence statewide legislation, and says its grassroots campaigns are designed "to elevate our client’s issues in the eyes of the public to affect the targeted audience." Its Web site also says New West "has lead advocacy campaigns that resulted in passage of legislation and change in public policy initiatives."
New West co-founder Jake Zambrano served as a liaison for Colorado's former governor, Republican Bill Owens, and in that capacity served as a member of numerous White House advance teams that planned and managed events that highlighted both former President George W. Bush's and Governor Owens' policy agendas. He also served as campaign manager for Congressman Scott McInnis (R-CO) in 1996 and 1998.
Ciletti previously served as Deputy Director for Colorado Governor Owens' Office of Innovation and Technology, and also worked for U.S. Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) and Congressman Joel Hefley (R-CO). He was also political director of the Colorado Republican Party from 1999-2000.  
In 2009, New West Public Affairs starting using a relatively new public relations technique called "Teleforum" developed by another Colorado company called "PDConnect.net." In addition to developing and promoting Teleforum, PD Connect also engages in email blasting, direct mail promotion and mass text messaging. Teleforum software allows a company, candidate or legislator to telephone tens of thousands of households simultaneously and invite those answering the phone to join in a live teleconference. Only those doing the calling can speak in what is largely a one-way conversation. The listeners/callers are kept on mute. Call recipients can push a button on their phone indicating they would like to ask a question, but calls are screened and can be chosen selectively.
Teleforum can be be used as a PR tool that allows elected officials to elevate the profile of an issue while tightly controlling the dialogue about the issue. In a recent Teleforum call in Mesa County, Colorado organized by New West, County elected officials phoned 30,000 registered voters in the county and asked them to participate in a teleconference about the issue of natural gas drilling. The Grand Junction, Colorado newspaper the Daily Sentinel reported that the tenor of the discussion favored the point of view of the drilling industry. One commissioner who acted as the moderator of the call indicated about halfway through the meeting that a caller (who was not allowed to speak) wanted to know if the commissioners had "given thought to having anyone on the panel with a differing opinion." The moderator responded by saying the meeting wasn't intended to serve as a pro-and-con discussion of the industry, but rather as a forum for people to ask questions.
New West also promotes teleforum as a polling and fundraising tool, since polls can be taken during the call and real-time results generated, funds can also be solicited during the calls. 
Web site: http://newwestpa.com/
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- New West Public Affairs Web site Grassroots Advocacy, accessed February 24, 2009
- Spoke.com Jake Zambrano's Professional Profile, accessed February 24, 2009
- Spoke Mike Ciletti's professional profile Web site, accessed February 24, 2009
- LinkedIn Profile Mike Ciletti, accessed February 24, 2009]
- PD Connect Web site Additional Services page, accessed February 24, 2009
- Gary Harmon County calling 30,000 residents about economy Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction, Colorado), February 20, 2009
- New West Public Affairs Web page describing Teleforum, accessed February 27, 2009
- Audio recording of Mesa County, Colorado's February 21, 2009 "Town Hall" Teleforum call
- Mesa County, Colorado press release linking February 21, 2009 "Town Hall" Teleforum call to New West Public Affairs]
- List of questions asked of callers during Mesa County, Colorado's February 21, 2009 Teleforum "Town Hall" meeting about the energy industry organized by New West Public Affairs
- Gary Harmon, County calling 30,000 residents about economy Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction, Colorado), February 20, 2009.
- Mike Wiggins, "Drilling slowdown talk of town in Mesa County phone-in meeting" Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction, Colorado), February 21, 2009.