Who we are ...
Jay Curtis, Founder and Principal
Jay Curtis worked in the public sector for 14 years. During that time, he developed a diverse set of skills at multiple levels of government in the legislative, executive, and legal settings. His areas of experience and knowledge are deep and wide ranging.
Mr. Curtis most recently served as the Director of Legislative Affairs for Governor Patrick J. Quinn. As the legislative director, he was responsible for advising the Governor on all legislative matters, directing and approving all legislative operations of the administration and its agencies, boards and commissions, managing over 100 liaisons, and drafting materials for bills, amendments, press briefings, releases, veto messages, executive orders, and gubernatorial addresses. Mr. Curtis was the Governor's chief lobbyist responsible for directly persuading members of the General Assembly and negotiating issues with elected officials, staff, lobbyists and interested stakeholders. He served as the lead negotiator and/or was responsible for the roll call on the Governor's highest priority issues, including fracking, medical marijuana, marriage equality, public safety, energy and telecommunications issues, revenue levels, business incentives, and pension reform. Mr. Curtis also assisted with the legislative hearing process of the budget and oversaw controversial rulemakings before the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.
Previous to his time with the Governor, Mr. Curtis was the Chief of Staff at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. There, he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the Department and its 1200-employee workforce. He oversaw personnel and labor relations, fiscal and budget operations, strategic sourcing and procurement, press and marketing efforts, and grant programs. He was responsible for diverse programmatic planning and policies, such as mining regulations, permitting economic development, licensing decisions, realty transactions, law enforcement operations, environmental consultations and the management of the State Museum and State Park systems. Mr. Curtis was responsible for conducting the issue campaign and managing the legislative strategy that led to the passage of a $32 million tax and fee bill during an election year that will sustain the State parks and many IDNR operations for years to come.
Mr. Curtis served as Assistant General Counsel to the Illinois Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan. He was responsible for staffing the State Government, Judiciary, and Elementary & Secondary Education Committees, as well as handling all gun legislation. This experience provided Mr. Curtis an intimate understanding of the legislative process, operations, and rules. He also developed strong bill analysis and drafting skills. He was also afforded the historic opportunity of assisting the House Counsel and Senate Prosecutor during the impeachment process of the former Governor Rod R. Blagojevich where he was responsible for admission of federal wiretapping evidence, issues of abuse of political funds and state hiring processes, and the supplemental testimony of then US Senator Roland Burris.
Mr. Curtis also spent time working for US Senator Richard J. Durbin culminating in serving as intern to the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmation of US Attorney General Michael Mukasey and the controversy of the expansion of the FISA court powers. He also assisted Sen. Durbin's foreign affairs staff on issues of terrorism, water rights, intellectual property piracy, genocides, and armed conflicts for the Judiciary's subcommittee on Human Relations and the Law.
Mr. Curtis began his public service career as a graduate intern to the city manager of a St. Louis suburb. In this role, he developed a strong understanding of the localized pressures of municipal governments. He assisted the police and fire chiefs and the city works and parks directors with operational and budgetary issues. He assisted with major, urban economic development projects and became familiar with TIFs, municipal bonding, and other financing mechanisms. His final project was the creation of a six-city, consolidated emergency response and call center.
Mr. Curtis served on the Illinois Housing Task Force, the Commission to End Hunger, and the Governor's Rural Affairs Council. He worked as a legal extern with the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, the Illinois Attorney General, and the Federal Public Defender - Southern District of Illinois. Mr. Curtis has also worked on national, state, and local elections doing field work and fundraising and having a special focus on election law issues.