Who is Benjamin J. Kirby?
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Benjamin J. Kirby is a communications professional with thirty years in politics, federal and local government, the nonprofit sector, and advocacy. A dedicated servant leader, he applies his expertise and experience in an array of disciplines, including: writing, editing, media relations, social media, public policy, and politics. He has served in a variety of volunteer and leadership roles in state and national political campaigns.
Benjamin J. Kirby
From 2014 to 2022, he served as the Communications Director for St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. As the chief spokesman for the mayor, he developed and distributed information from the Mayor’s Office to the news media and promoted mayoral initiatives through media exposure. He was the chief point of contact for local media to Mayor Kriseman. He also drafted press releases, advisories, speeches, talking points and related presentations and information, and advised on social media content for the mayor and deputy mayor.
Previously, he served as an advocate for at-risk youth and underprivileged families as the Communications Manager for the Juvenile Welfare Board (JWB), a Pinellas County governmental authority which provides critical social services. Benjamin served in healthcare education and advocacy roles as well, in communications leadership capacities for the American Association of Kidney Patients and the Parkinson’s Action Network.
Benjamin served on the Board of the National Association of Planning Councils (NAPC), including as Board Secretary. He was also a member of NAPC Forward, a group of young leaders working to promote the work of NAPC for the future.
Before healthcare and family advocacy, he served in staff and volunteer capacities in local and statewide political campaigns in Florida, Arkansas, and Virginia. Benjamin served as Field Director for Arkansas' first female gubernatorial nominee, Jimmie Lou Fisher, and as Campaign Manager for Jan Schneider’s first bid against Katherine Harris for the U.S. House of Representatives in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. His first campaign was with the Clinton/Gore Presidential Campaign of 1992 in his hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas.
From 1993 through 2001, Benjamin held a variety of staff positions in the Clinton Administration. He was the first Public Affairs Officer of the United States Parole Commission, part of the United States Justice Department. He also served on the staff of the First Lady’s White House Millennium Council, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of Presidential Personnel.
Born in western North Carolina and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, Benjamin now lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with his wife, Kendra, and his children, Emeline, Finnegan, and Elle. He has a degree in Political Communication from George Mason University.
Decades of Experience
A communications professional with thirty years in politics, federal and local government, the nonprofit sector, and advocacy. A servant leader applying expertise and experience in an array of disciplines, including: writing, editing, media relations, social media, public policy, and politics. Served in a variety of volunteer and leadership roles in state and national political campaigns. Award-winning work spans decades.
“One of my priorities was to elevate St. Petersburg on a global stage. Thanks in large part to Mr. Kirby’s collaboration with the Marketing Department, and his leadership within the city, our goal has been achieved. From the New York Times to Forbes, the Travel Channel to CNBC, the City of St. Petersburg has been lauded as an international destination to live, work, and play.”Rick KrisemanFormer St. Petersburg Mayor
“He has accelerated and amplified the city with rich insights, well-rooted relationships and a steadfast commitment to the effort required to move us forward with internal and external audiences.”Dr. Kanika TomalinFormer St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor & City Administrator
“Ben demonstrated early in his tenure that he would not be a conventional communications professional.”D. Gay LancasterFormer Executive Director of the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County (JWB)
“During the campaign Ben demonstrated his creativity, superb ability, and unflinching loyalty. Through his hard work, Ben earned the respect of his co-workers and myself.”Representative Jimmy “Red” MilliganFormer Speaker Pro Tempore, Arkansas State House of Representatives
“The National Capital Revitalization Act has brought the Parole Commission to the forefront of many sensitive issues, and Ben has been instrumental in assisting us in negotiating difficult political developments. As interest in the work of the Commission has grown, his ability to discuss the complex nature of parole in an easily accessible manner to reporters and interested parties has been invaluable.”Michael J. GainesFormer Chairman, U.S. Parole Commission, U.S. Department of Justice
“He created a site that accurately reflects the national mission and unique responsibilities of the Commission. The Commission’s web page, and the labor that Ben dedicated to ensuring it was of the highest quality, has contributed to enhancing the image and professionalism of this office.”Timothy E. JonesFormer Chief of Staff, U.S. Parole Commission, U.S. Department of Justice
“His ability to balance multiple priorities, while effectively communicating with senior and junior-level staff earned him the respect and recognition as the linchpin for coordination between ONDCP senior management and staff, and other counter-narcotics agencies.”COL Walter L. HoltonFormer Deputy Chief of Staff, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
“He has led the development of new media technology for JWB, including setup of the JWB Facebook page, JWB Twitter feeds, and the JWB YouTube page.”Debra A. PrewittMPA, Former Director of Public Policy & Strategic Partnerships, Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County (JWB)
“Mr. Kirby’s ability to effectively communicate the critical considerations that connect City Hall with the community it serves makes a difference for thousands every day. His collaborative leadership style and commitment shines through whether he is producing a high-pressure press conference focused on crisis communications or explaining to a fledgling entrepreneur how to access and diversify the community’s supply chain.”Dr. Kanika TomalinFormer St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor & City Administrator
“An exemplary writer, Mr. Kirby was the lead on talking points and briefing materials covering a wide range of issues and events, and he contributed to speeches for both me and the Deputy Mayor.”Rick KrisemanFormer St. Petersburg Mayor