Burson-Marsteller has tapped Jason Kinney to lead its northern California public affairs practice and will be a director in the firm?s Sacramento office. Kinney was California governor Gray Davis? senior communications advisor and chief speechwriter.
Kinney will aid Burson-Marsteller's renewed dedication to expanding capabilities in Sacramento and will focus on topics such as public affairs, strategic communications, NGO marketing and management, and media relations, the firm said.
Kinney said he joined Burson for "its unique capabilities and both local and global expertise.
?Few firms can compete at Burson?s level. They understand the importance of local issues,? Kinney said.
"Jason is exactly what we were looking for in Sacramento," said Alan Arkatov, who oversees the firm?s West Coast public affairs practice, in a press release.
He left Davis? team in March 2003 and started his own public affairs and candidate consultancy firm, The Kinney Company. His departure from Davis? staff, which he said had been planned for some time, occurred shortly after Gray?s inauguration for his second term and before the recall fervor began. The Kinney Group was a sole consultancy, which consisted of him and two staffers.
In addition to Davis, The Kinney Company?s clients included state senator Don Perata, Kenwood Investments, the Meruelo Group, and the San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs' Association.
During his four-year tenure with Davis, Kinney led message development, framed new policy initiatives, and wrote or supervised nearly 1,200 speeches.
"Frankly when it comes to public affairs, the understanding and experience that comes with campaign work is invaluable. [You] know how to operate intelligently and accurately on tight deadline. That's the sort of work [experience] that public affairs clients crave. I believe that if you can survive a state-wide campaign in California, you can succeed in any campaign.?
Kinney is from Indiana and said that he has always appreciated the Californian campaign style.
?We have a governor, administration, and state government that are disciples of that style of Californian communications. California is both the epicenter of public affairs creativity and crucible of innovation. Sacramento is going to be at the center of all that and Burson recognizes that.?