The powerful business interest group hired Washington consultant Scott Reed as a senior political strategist and promoted Rob Engstrom to senior vice president of political affairs and federation relations. William Miller Jr., who previously held Engstrom's post, joined communications firm Brunswick Group in October.
Reed, who is the chairman of consulting firm Chesapeake Enterprises, will direct the organization’s voter education activities, helping the Chamber with its advertising and national political strategy. Engstrom, who was the Chamber’s vice president for political affairs and federation relations, will manage the organization’s day-to-day activities concerning political, election and grassroots work.
Engstrom and Reed have experience working on Republican campaigns. Reed was the national campaign manager for Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign and is a former Republican National Committee executive director and chief operating officer. Engstrom worked on former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s 1998 campaign for the House and spent a stint as the RNC political education director.
“Never has the voice of business been more important than in the upcoming election,” Chamber president and chief executive officer Thomas Donohue said in a statement. “With Scott and Rob leading a respected brand like the Chamber, we’re assured that our voice will be heard and voters will learn where candidates stand on issues impacting businesses.”
The Chamber supports candidates whom it deems pro-business, often aligning itself with Republicans who are seeking elected office. In 2010, 86% of the 276 candidates the Chamber endorsed won elections, according to the organization.
Engstrom and Reed said in phone interviews that they are excited about helping the Chamber advance the interests of businesses in the run up to the 2012 House and Senate elections. The Chamber already has met with about 30 candidates who are seeking the organization’s endorsement, Engstrom said.
“We’re going to go in hard, strong and early,” Reed said.