Jim KesslerVice President for Policy
On Labor Day 1994, Jim Kessler wrote a memo to his then-boss, Rep. Charles Schumer that began “we are going to lose the House and Senate, here’s why, and this is what we need to do about it.” Since that day, Kessler has been dreaming of forming an organization like Third Way which seeks to modernize the progressive movement. That dream came true in January 2005 when Third Way—co-founded by Kessler, Jon Cowan, Matt Bennett, and Nancy Hale—officially opened its doors.
Kessler is an accomplished veteran of Capitol Hill, political campaigns, and public advocacy. Before co-founding Third Way, he served as Director of Policy and Research for Americans for Gun Safety where he drove the NRA to apoplexy with new messaging and policies that effectively neutralized the volatile gun issue.
From 1993 to 2001, Kessler served as Legislative and Policy Director to Charles Schumer (D-NY), including a stint as Schumer’s policy director and speechwriter for his successful run against sitting Republican Senator Al D’Amato. Though Kessler helped pass landmark legislation on crime, gun safety, and domestic violence, he is actually best known for retiring as the longest-serving senior aide in Schumer history.
Jim Kessler is almost famous. He has penned several dozen political columns and op-eds. He has appeared frequently as a political commentator on television, radio, on the web, and in the paper—including 60 Minutes, World News Tonight, The CBS Evening News, Morning Edition, and Marketplace Radio. He has even caught two foul balls.
Kessler earned his Masters Degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and his BA in Political Science. He is married to Jane Lueders, has a daughter Liberty, and a dog named Scout.