Mr. Richard S. Kessler
President, Kessler & Associates
Richard S. Kessler is the founding president of Kessler & Associates, Inc. With more than 20 years of government relations and political experience, Mr. Kessler brings an in-depth knowledge of several issue areas to the firm including foreign and Federal tax legislation, international trade, financial services, telecommunications, transportation, patent and intellectual property legislation, food, alcohol, healthcare and campaign finance.
Since Mr. Kessler founded the firm in 1987, Kessler & Associates has grown to become one of the leading government relations firms in Washington. Mr. Kessler currently represents or has previously represented many multinational and national corporations based around the globe as well as various foreign governments. Mr. Kessler has negotiated international tariff and trade agreements on behalf of Kessler & Associates’ clients involving China, Canada, NAFTA (International Tariff Harmonized Code), and the USTR.
Mr. Kessler began his career in politics in 1978 working for the Senate Labor Committee. In 1979, Mr. Kessler joined the John Anderson for President campaign. Mr. Kessler was quickly promoted to the position of National Finance Director where he designed and managed the campaign finance strategy of the campaign in addition to managing the statewide efforts of the Anderson campaign in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont where Mr. Anderson enjoyed his largest margins.
In late 1980, Mr. Kessler became instrumental in coordinating the finances and attendance for the official events surrounding the presidential inauguration of Ronald Reagan. Following his brief time with the Reagan Inaugural Committee, Mr. Kessler accepted the position of Executive Director of the Ripon Society – a national Republican public policy group – where he revitalized and rejuvenated the organization. In this position, Mr. Kessler oversaw the development of the Congressional Advisory Board, the non-partisan Ripon Educational Fund TransAtlantic Conference (which has turned into a prominent annual policy forum between European and U. S. government officials), the Congressional Liaison Board, the annual Rough Rider Awards Dinner and publication of the Ripon Forum (the Society’s quarterly policy magazine) all of which have made the Ripon Society a “player” in the international public policy arena. In early 2004, Mr. Kessler was invited to follow the Honorable Bill Frenzel and serve as the President of the Ripon Society.
From 1982 until 1984, Mr. Kessler lobbied for Jack McDonald Associates specializing in trade and tax issues. In his capacity here, Mr. Kessler joined in successfully defeating the “domestic content” legislation – an ill-advised effort to legislate the manufacturing origin of makeup of automobiles.
After briefly serving as a senior staffer on the Senate Education and Labor Committee in 1985, Mr. Kessler joined the Odell Roper firm as Director of Special Projects. Mr. Kessler was a fundraiser here, assisting the Vice President and the Republican National Committee in various capacities on the campaign finance team.
Under the leadership of the late Senator John Tower, Mr. Kessler managed one of the most financially successful campaigns of the time in raising financial support for the American Air Museum in Great Britain.
Mr. Kessler has served as a congressional liaison or senior donor program coordinator for four national political conventions and was instrumental in the development of The Jimmy Huega Center’s program, among others, which specialized in matching professional athletes with charitable concerns to raise funds. Mr. Kessler has volunteered his skills as a senior financial advisor to multiple disadvantaged or handicapped children’s organizations. In addition, he has served on dozens of steering or fundraising committees for local, state and federal Republican candidates across the country.
Married to the former Daphne Cochran of Kentucky, Mr. Kessler and his wife are the parents of two children, Samantha and Ryan. The Kessler Family resides in Great Falls, Virginia.
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