Mr. Shirley has been professionally involved in American politics and government for almost three decades. He has worked in government and on campaigns at the congressional, gubernatorial, and presidential levels. A graduate of Springfield College, Mr. Shirley’s fields of specialization include strategic public relations, crisis management, marketing, and government affairs, as well as political consulting and government affairs. He was honored as the school’s “Outstanding Alumnus of 2005.”
Mr. Shirley is the bestselling author of Reagan’s Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All. The book, which analyzes Ronald Reagan’s pivotal 1976 presidential campaign, was released by Nelson Current Publishing in January 2005. Favorable reviews of the book appeared in such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, and The Weekly Standard among dozens of others. Reagan’s Revolution also scored a spot on The Washington Post’s bestsellers list. A documentary based on the book is currently in production. Mr. Shirley is now working on his second book that details Reagan’s 1980 Campaign.
In 1987, Mr. Shirley and David Keene formed Keene, Shirley & Associates, Inc. During the five year association, he tripled the billings for Keene, Shirley & Associates, ran a major advertising and public relations campaign supporting President Bush and Operation Desert Storm, successfully represented the Embassy of the State of Kuwait, and was placed in charge of public relations for an international conference on democracy hosted in Prague by President Vaclav Havel of then Czechoslovakia. In 1992, Mr. Shirley re-opened Craig Shirley & Associates. In addition to working with a host of political, corporate, and trade concerns, Mr. Shirley served as an informal advisor to the 1996 campaign of Republican Presidential nominee Sen. Bob Dole. In 2000, the firm provided in-kind support to the presidential campaign of then Governor George W. Bush as well as the Florida recount. In that same year, Craig Shirley & Associates became Shirley & Banister Public Affairs with the promotion of Diana Banister from vice president to partner.
Mr. Shirley’s past efforts include the Fund for America’s Future, the political action committee of Vice President George Bush. Mr. Shirley worked closely with the future President George W. Bush, organizing conservative support for his father’s 1988 presidential bid.
During the 1984 campaign, he was the Director of Communications for the National Conservative Political Action Committee, America’s largest independent political committee, which spent over $14 million on behalf of President Reagan’s re-election.
As Communications Advisor to the Republican National Committee in 1982, Mr. Shirley traveled across the country advising dozens of campaigns and state committees on public relations, political advertising, and campaign strategy.
In 198l, Shirley served as an account executive with a major New York advertising firm. There he managed and supervised agency programs for the New York Racing Association and other high profile clients.
In 1980, he directed the Fund for a Conservative Majority’s $750,000 independent expenditure campaign in support of Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign. In 1978, Mr. Shirley served as press secretary to U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey on his upset win in New Hampshire and came with the Senator to Washington, D.C. to serve on his Capitol Hill staff.
Mr. Shirley is a frequently sought-after commentator and speaker by the national media on politics, ideology, and Washington and has appeared on national television including C-SPAN, CNBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, FOX News Channel and others. Mr. Shirley also lectures at various seminars and has contributed articles to numerous publications including The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times, USA Weekend, Campaigns and Elections, The Weekly Standard, Conservative Digest, and Insight Magazine. He currently holds membership on the boards of the American Conservative Union, Campaigns & Elections magazine, the United Seniors Association, the Northern Virginia Youth Lacrosse League, and the Fort Hunt Youth Athletic Association. He has also edited two books, the first, by Vic Kamber and Brad O’Leary, entitled Are You a Conservative or a Liberal? and Coaching Youth Lacrosse, published by the Lacrosse Foundation.
Craig Shirley resides in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife, Zorine, and their four children. He and his family enjoy sailing and other aquatic activities at their river home, familiarly known as “Trickle Down Point,” in Lancaster, Virginia.