josephJoseph Rodota

Founder and CEO

Joe Rodota is a seasoned government executive and political strategist with a record of accomplishment in government and in presidential, federal, state and local campaigns nationwide.


In the Reagan Administration, Joe served as Deputy Director of Public Affairs in the White House, managing the “talking points” program for Administration appointees, preparing the President’s domestic and economic media briefings, and managing a staff of researchers and writers. Prior to joining the White House staff, Joe served as a policy and communications aide in three federal agencies (Energy, Housing and Urban Development and Education), as a domestic policy analyst at the Republican National Committee, and as a researcher with the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee.

Joe served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Cabinet Secretary to former California Governor Pete Wilson, overseeing day-to-day operations, policy development, and federal relations for the 13 cabinet agencies of the nation’s most populous state. He was a top consultant to Governor Wilson’s 1990 campaign and served as senior counselor for policy in the 1994 reelection campaign.

During California’s tumultuous 2003 recall election, Joe served as Director of Policy and Research for Arnold Schwarzenegger. In just 30 days, he assembled a policy staff of more than 50 paid and volunteer experts, produced two policy summits, and generated a half-dozen major policy platforms. Newsweek magazine dubbed this effort “Schwarzenegger University.” Following Schwarzenegger’s victory, Joe directed the Governor-elect’s economic policy transition team, served as an appointee to a government efficiency commission, and was a senior consultant to Schwarzenegger’s 2006 re-election campaign.

Prior to founding Forward Observer, Joe was founder and president of Benchmark Research Group, the nation’s first full-service political and public affairs research firm. Clients of the firm included Bush-Quayle ’88 and ’92, the Republican National Committee, and more than two dozen other candidate and ballot initiative campaigns in multiple states.

Joe is a graduate of Stanford University in history, with honors and distinction. He serves on the board of the Crocker Museum of Art. He speaks on politics, ballot initiative strategy and tactics, and the importance of research in corporate communications. He also serves as a contributor to the Huffington Post and other publications.