National Newspaper Association retains Morrissey Strategic Partners, Washington, D.C.

Sep 24, 2021

Rafe Morrissey

National Newspaper Association announced this week that it has engaged Morrissey Strategic Partners, led by veteran public policy leader Rafe Morrissey, to represent community newspapers on Capitol Hill in 2021-22.

Morrissey has previously worked with NNA as a consultant to Six ideas Before Breakfast LLC, which has led NNA’s legislative efforts for many years.  His background is in postal policy and regulatory matters. 

NNA Chair Brett Wesner, president of Wesner Publications, Cordell, Oklahoma, said the NNA Board of Directors was delighted to strike an agreement with Morrissey and to continue the path toward the coming retirement of Tonda Rush, principal of Six Ideas.

Wesner said, “It is comforting that in a time of great tumult in our nation and our industry that we are on track with NNA’s long-range plans for its public policy work.  Our members have been very solid in their support of NNA as we continue to be the voice in Washington for community newspapers.  Morrissey has been part of our team through Tonda and her firm for a couple of years. He has a solid grounding on the issues we care about the most and we think we are going to be in very good hands.

“Tonda will remain with us for at least another year as NNA’s general counsel and as part of our policy advisory team. We have more changes in store as we complete a transition that essentially began in 2001 when NNA decided to move its headquarters out of Washington and retain public policy professionals to do our work there. We have so far managed some critical changes without a hiccup. Our members’ concerns are being heard. Our important mission continues.”

Wesner said part of the change would entail creating a Public Policy Oversight committee within NNA to coordinate work with Morrissey.  He will chair the PPO and has appointed for 2021-22:
John Galer, NNA vice chair and publisher of the Hillsboro (Illinois) Journal-News;
Jeff Mayo, NNA treasurer and president, Cookson Hills Publishers, Sallisaw, Oklahoma; and
Matthew Paxton, NNA chair of government relations and publisher of the News-Gazette, Lexington, Virginia
Rush and NNA Executive Director Lynne Lance will sit on PPO as advisors.
Morrissey has more than 20 years of public policy experience. He is and leads the associations’ Postal Affairs Committee and has extensive experience in working with leaders in Congress and the Postal Regulatory Commission. Before launching MSP, Rafe served as senior vice president for government relations for Evans Capitol Group, a public policy firm specializing in corporate, nonprofit and trade association representation. With Evans Capitol Group, his client representation ranged from large corporations to healthcare associations and nonprofit policy clients including Hallmark Cards Inc., American Business Media, Newspaper Association of America, Cyren Call and Nextel, among others. Rafe managed a wide range of issues including labor and employment policy, tax, trade, telecommunications and internet privacy issues.
Rafe also served as staff director for The Main Street Coalition for Postal Fairness which led the successful effort to protect the interests of small volume mailers in the years of debate leading up to the passage of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006.
He began his career working for the Washington, D.C., based law firm, Wiley, Rein & Fielding, as a legal assistant specializing in medical insurance fraud litigation. Rafe is a recipient of the American Business Media 2007 Thomas W. Tully award for Outstanding Government Service and the 2017 EMA John Heinrich Nelson Award for Excellence in Postal Affairs. In February 2014, he was profiled in Business Mailers Review as one of the postal industry top influencers.