Constance "Connie" Campanella
Constance Campanella is a 1973 graduate of West Babylon High School. She later graduated from Adelphi University with a degree in Speech Arts. While entering Adelphi on a full scholarship to study Speech Pathology and Audiology, Connie’s long held fascination with politics and public policy found purpose in a campus organization she eventually led as its Chair.
In 1976, Connie was honored to serve as New York State Youth for Reagan Chair and led a caravan of college students to Kansas City for the Republican National Convention. Early that year, while interning for U. S. Senator James Buckley, she was invited to deliver a re-nomination speech for the Senator, on behalf of the youth of New York State, at Town Hall in New York City. Joining her on stage was the late Congressman Jack Kemp (R-Buffalo), a free-market icon who invited her on-the-spot to interview for his Washington, D.C. staff , an invitation she accepted in 1977, shortly after moving to Virginia.
In 1978, Connie left Capitol Hill to work for a national, bipartisan association of state legislators. Sharing responsibility for fundraising, membership development and events management, she also had the· opportunity to testify before the U. S. Senate and to lead a national public policy campaign impacting state authority under the U. S. Constitution.
She then moved to the Reagan Administration in 1981, then back to Capitol Hill as Chief Legislative Assistant for Oklahoma Congressman Mickey Edwards (R) and then back to the Reagan Administration as Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Transportation in 1982. In 1984, she was offered the opportunity to return to the state legislator association as its Executive Director. Among her achievements as Executive Director, Connie initiated the creation of a national organization of free market-oriented state think tanks and served as its first President. The organization remains in existence today.
In 1988, Connie accepted the opportunity to work as a state government relations consultant to RJR Nabisco. Setting up shop in a spare bedroom of her apartment, Connie discovered that a national policy-focused approach to state government relations was in demand. Soon, RJR Nabisco was joined by General Electric, Philip Morris, Dow, 3M, Rent a Center and other clients.
Today, 27+ years later, Stateside Associates is the largest state and local government relations consulting firm. With a staff of over 5O in service to 140 corporate, association and U. S. government clients, Connie now holds the title, Chairman Emeritus as she works toward retirement in December, 2015. While Stateside Associates has been successful in many respects, Connie is most proud of the fact that over a dozen employees of the firm have moved on in their careers to become clients.
Connie’s professional leadership credentials include membership on the Boards of Directors of the Public Affairs Council and the Washington Area State Relationship Group. In 2006, Connie served as an Adjunct Professor for the George Washington University Graduate Program in Political Management, teaching a course about State Government Relations. Throughout her career she has been a frequent lecturer and author about the strategies embodied in successful state and local government relations.
When not working at Stateside, Connie has dedicated herself to her husband Kevin, their family, their dogs and to wild birds and other wildlife. An avid birder, she serves as a member of the Board of Directors of New Jersey Audubon and previously served as a Director of the American Bird Conservancy where she co-led an initiative to reduce the harvest of horseshoe crabs in the Delaware Bay in order to preserve a critical food source for migrating shorebirds.
In 2014, Connie co-founded the Race 4 Birds Foundation, Inc., a tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting youth birding competitions as a means of encouraging young people to become more engaged with birds, other wildlife and the outdoors. Connie serves as President of the Race 4 Birds Foundation.
Connie also serves her adopted home community of Cape May Point, New Jersey as a member of the Board of Directors of the Cape May Point Taxpayers Association and as a member of the Civic Association.