Kelly Calkin

Job title: 
Partner, Townsend Calkin Tapio Public Affairs

National Advisory Council: 2012

Kelly Calkin is a leader in a new generation of game-changing political strategists who are redefining how to win in high-stakes candidate, ballot measure and legislative campaigns.

Bringing state-of-the-audience perspectives and a fully integrated management approach, Kelly focuses on helping clients see around corners with difference-making game plans, stay ahead of curves with high-touch service, and win the most competitive campaigns with high-velocity creative and optimally-efficient media.

Kelly has the unique experience working as the political director for some of the most influential business and labor groups in California—Pacific Gas and Electric, the Personal Insurance Federation of California, and the California Professional Firefighters. In these roles, he built the political infrastructure that provides a competitive advantage to these organizations in California. Kelly also worked for the California Building and Construction Trades State Council and for a member of the US House of Representatives. This over 20 years of experience allows him to fully understand the complexities his clients face as they navigate California’s political landscape.

Kelly served as campaign manager for Proposition 52 (Hospital Fees for Medi-Cal), a $60 million statewide ballot initiative which garnered 70% of the vote statewide and won in every county—a historic effort. Due in part to his decades of connections in Democratic politics, Kelly successfully spearheaded endorsements from the state Labor Federation, Democratic Party and key groups in the campaign. Kelly’s other statewide ballot initiative work includes Proposition 45 (Health Insurance. Rate Changes) and Proposition 75 (Paycheck Protection). Kelly’s managerial style has won plaudits for his ability to bring powerful and diverse stakeholders, consultants, and clients together to create winning results.

In addition to ballot measures, Kelly has worked on over 100 state and local political campaigns including local ballot measures, board of supervisors, city council, fire board, special district and independent expenditure campaigns. He is also the longtime political advisor and campaign consultant to California State Treasurer Fiona Ma.

Kelly Calkin graduated with honors in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.