Two California senior political strategists are aligning their firms to build capacity and share resources to better serve clients’ increasingly complex challenges and opportunities. Karen Skelton, a Clinton-Gore White House deputy political director and founder of Skelton Strategies, and Nathan Barankin, former Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, California Chief Deputy Attorney General, and founder of Oak Tree Strategies, will combine their fifty-plus years of legal, political, corporate and policy experience in a new strategic alliance based in Sacramento.
Skelton and Barankin will tackle the big issues confronting California’s employers, entrepreneurs, and families today: Media Technology, Economic Innovation, Social Justice, Women’s Health, Diplomacy, Education, Aging, Energy. Both are uniquely qualified to navigate the complex and competing interests at the heart of any meaningful modern policy battle.
“Our guiding principle when introducing complicated policy matters for clients is to assume your first shot is the most important shot. To succeed, you need to define your objectives early with simplicity, values, and power,” they said in a statement.
Skelton brings over 30 years of experience providing counsel to Fortune 500 companies and startups, as well as to the public sector, and has worked as a field organizer, litigator, project manager, and CEO on a broad range of policies across multiple industries. Skelton serves on the boards of the Public Policy Institute of California, National Parks Foundation Council, the Institute for Democracy and Justice, the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, Capitol Weekly’s Open California, and She Shares, which she co-founded in 2012.
“I have worked with Karen Skelton for years. She is as smart and as strategic as anyone I’ve ever met in any business anywhere on earth,” said former First Lady Maria Shriver. “There isn’t any project that I embark on that she isn’t my first choice for strategy. She is not only the best in her business, she’s the best in any business.”
Barankin has worked at the highest levels of state and national government – serving in senior leadership positions for three California attorneys general, two California State Senate presidents pro tem, and a U.S. Senator in Washington, D.C. During his career, Barankin has helped manage several statewide and legislative political campaigns, litigated in state and federal courts on behalf of the State of California, and served as the principal strategist on many public policy advocacy campaigns.
“Lots of people in government are smart; some can get things done. Nathan Barankin hits home runs with both. He is able to look around corners to see problems and has the ability to look around the one after that. I respect his excellent judgment and good heart,” said former California Attorney General Bill Lockyer.
Skelton and Barankin, both Sacramento natives, have operated in every region of California, then worked in Washington DC before returning home to Sacramento to raise families. They know executives and businessowners are busy, and that media noise is ephemeral by storyline but chaotic by volume. They will develop successful strategies that penetrate the clutter and provide clarity of purpose during these uncommonly complicated times.
Our guiding principle when introducing complicated policy matters for clients is to assume your first shot is the most important shot. To succeed, you need to define your objectives early with simplicity, values, and power.
Karen Skelton is the Founder and President of Skelton Strategies, a boutique political and strategic consulting firm in California. She is a nationally recognized political and policy strategist with deep experience in energy, media technology, complex litigation teams, economic justice, innovation, and women’s health.
Nathan Barankin is one of California’s most experienced political, policy, and legal strategists. During his more than two decades in public service, Nathan has played a leadership role in shaping the outcome of many of the most significant public policy issues confronting California and the nation.