Sal Russo is the founder of Russo Marsh + Associates, Inc. (RMA) and has spent over 50 years in the field of political consulting, advertising and public affairs. He represented and was a close friend of Senator Ken Maddy, and he has served as a Founding Member of the Maddy Institute Board of Directors.
In the United States RMA has been at the forefront of some of the most prominent national, state and local campaigns, including the election of governors from coast-to-coast – George Deukmejian, California and George Pataki, New York. In addition to candidate races, the firm has been a leader in winning difficult ballot initiative campaigns as well, including the defeat of the Peripheral Canal and the passage of the Gann State Spending Limit in California.
Mr. Russo began his political career as a special assistant to Governor Ronald Reagan after serving in his 1966 gubernatorial campaign. After three years in the Governor’s Office, he served as chief of staff to a member of the California Legislature for six years.
After successfully managing Governor George Deukmejian’s difficult campaign for Governor in California 1982, Mr. Russo took a two-year leave of absence to become Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor.
Mr. Russo has served repeatedly as an advisor to Congressman Jack Kemp, assisting Kemp in his 1988 presidential campaign and directing his Campaign for a New Agenda, the political action committee formed to promote conservative issues. Mr. Russo has also been an advisor to several Republican presidential campaigns since 1968, including the re-election effort of President Ronald Reagan and running the campaign for Senator Orrin Hatch.
RMA has also developed the strategy and public relations campaign for significant public policy issues, including the successful effort to break the utility monopoly on natural gas in California. The firm expanded their Washington DC political office into one of the leading public policy advocacy firms, representing a broad cross section of business and labor interests with both the Administration and Congress throughout the 1980’s.
In 2004 Mr. Russo co-founded the pro-military charitable organization, Move America Forward. It quickly grew to become the nation’s largest grassroots pro-troop organization and has shipped over 300 tons of care packages to U.S. military personnel stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2009 he co-founded the Tea Party Express, which has become one of the largest grassroots conservative political action committees in the nation. The PAC has conducted over 500 tea party rallies across America and made famous the Tea Party Express bus tours.
Under Mr. Russo’s direction, RMA has also successfully managed campaigns and provided strategic communication services to a wide variety of international clients, including the election of Violetta Chamorro in Nicaragua, the first defeat of a communist leader in a democratic election and the media campaign for the successful referendum on Ukrainian independence to create a new country from the Soviet Union.
In 2005 Mr. Russo devised a public relations and advertising campaign on behalf of the government of Iraqi Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous region of northern Iraq. The branding of Kurdistan as “The Other Iraq” is recognized as one of the most successful public affairs efforts ever conducted.
Mr. Russo began his education at the University of California, Berkeley, where his activism in the Free Speech Movement led to a meeting and future employment with Ronald Reagan. He holds a B.A. in Government from California State University, Sacramento, and a J.D. from McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific. Mr. Russo serves on a several public policy boards, and as an officer and on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Political Consultants. He is the Founding Chairman of Tower of Youth, a Sacramento regional youth-run organization that sponsors and supports the communication arts for teenagers.