Keith Gilkes, founder and principal of Platform Communications, is a valued voice in the world of political strategy, issue advocacy, and brand identity communications. During his nearly twenty-year career, Gilkes has been recognized by the American Association of Political Consultants (2013) and Politico in its list of ‘50 Politicos to Watch.’
His time in the political arena has included consulting across the nation for the Republican Governors Association, as well as serving as Governor Scott Walker’s chief political advisor. And his work since his time in state government has helped dozens of clients address complex policy and communications problems.
In the early 2000’s, Gilkes spent several years in leadership positions in the Wisconsin State Legislature, including serving as Chief of Staff for the Senate Majority Leader. Through his state service, Gilkes gained a thorough understanding of personnel, organizational management, and policy implementation.
After the 2010 election, Gilkes led the transition effort to build Governor-Elect Scott Walker’s administration and then served as Governor Scott Walker’s first Chief of Staff. In this capacity, Gilkes managed the daily operations of the governor’s office and state agencies, legislative agenda and relationships, and developed policy within Governor Walker’s office.
As Walker’s Chief of Staff, Gilkes oversaw the operational aspects of all cabinet agencies in Wisconsin and was apprised of agency rules, procurement contracts, and additional state government actions. Gilkes has gained invaluable knowledge pivotal to understanding state regulations, administrative rules, and additional processes utilized by state agencies.
Gilkes was instrumental in formulating and executing Governor Walker’s budget that allocated nearly $64 billion to put taxpayers first and invest in Wisconsin’s priorities during the 2011-13 biennium. Throughout the budget process, Gilkes worked with existing Republican leadership to pass Walker’s successful budget reforms that eliminated a $3.6 billion budget deficit and reformed government operations. In 2011, Gilkes was instrumental in legislation that provided tort reform, helped eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse from government programs, changed the administrative rules process and removed bureaucratic red tape. These reforms made Wisconsin more attractive for businesses.
In 2011, Gilkes oversaw operations in the governor’s office during 2011’s Act 10 protests. Gilkes streamlined requests, answered quick deadlines, and disseminated honest and accurate information to hundreds of media outlets nationwide on a daily basis. Despite a challenging political climate during the Act 10 debate, Gilkes earned respect from colleagues on both sides of the aisle for his calm demeanor and direct approach.
Gilkes left the governor’s office to focus on ensuring Walker’s victory in the historic recall attempt. Thanks to his leadership, for the first time in the nation’s history, a sitting governor beat back a recall attempt. He continues to serve as a political advisor to Governor Scott Walker.
As founder of Platform Communications, his clients are corporations, nonprofits, and associations. Gilkes utilizes his extensive experience in the legislative and executive branches to provide an array of communication, public affairs, and organizational management services to his clients.
“[Keith Gilkes is]… one of the most genuine, hardworking and smart operatives I know.”
– Former White House Chief of Staff and former RNC Chairman Reince Priebus