Political strategist, author (currently with Simon & Schuster in a three book deal), documentary writer, reality television personality (Southern Charm on Bravo) and college lecturer on politics.
Of all Ned’s endeavors, none gives him more personal satisfaction than his work on Capitol Hill where for nearly four decades, he has been an advisor to many Democratic leaders in Congress. Ned was raised in politics; his grandfather was an Indiana State Senator, Chairman of the Finance Committee, Chairman of the Indiana GOP, and whose “official office” was a booth in a coffee shop across from the county courthouse with a payphone on the wall. When Ned got interested in politics, his grandfather gave him some prophetic and pragmatic advice: “Jack Kennedy is the future. There will always be more Democrats than Republicans over the long haul. But if you’re going to be a Dem, always treat the taxpayer’s money as you would your own.”
Ned’s first exposure to the intersection of the importance of politics on business came in 1979 with the Chrysler Loan Guarantee Act, when Ned worked as an assistant to Chrysler Chairman & CEO, Lee Iacocca. Treasury Secretary G. William Miller was against the $1.5 billion bailout, as were the other US automakers, and many Republican members of Congress. The initial outlook for Chrysler looked bleak. It was not until a meeting between Iacocca and House Speaker Tip O’Neill (a tall, skinny Chris Matthews was his Chief of Staff) that Chrysler’s fortunes looked slightly better. O’Neill and Iacocca hit it off personally- Tip from hardscrabble South Boston and Lee the son of a small grocer in Allentown, PA. Speaker O’Neill gave Iacocca some sage political advice that ultimately saved Chrysler: “Lee, nobody gets the complex economic arguments about saving Chrysler; you’ll die trying. All politics is local. You and your team need to calculate the adverse economic impact Chrysler going bust would have in each of the 435 districts and all 50 states. How many dealer jobs would be lost, factory workers and suppliers. And then get all those small business people and local labor leaders to come to DC, and lobby their Representative and Senators.” And it worked; President Carter buckled to the political pressure, and signed the loan guarantee bill. By the way, there is another great story about President Reagan gave Iacocca “acting tips” for the latter’s television commercials.
From 2008 to 2012, Ned managed the federal government relations and regulatory compliance for Prairie Capital, a Chicago-based private equity firm. After he decided to relocate to Charleston, South Carolina, he continued advising a handful of corporate clients, entrepreneurs and Members of Congress. While Ned enjoys the creative aspects of writing and acting, he thrives on being in the “big game” of DC politics.
As they say in the South, Ned married “up” with Christina Baxter, who has built a successful wedding planning business in Charleston and Washington, DC. Ned received dual undergraduate degrees in International Studies and Economics from the University of Notre Dame (Go Irish!), a Master in Business degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and completed two years of law school until he decided that he did not want to practice law. Ned’s first job was as an assistant to then Ford President Lee Iacocca. When Henry Ford II fired Iacocca in 1979, Ned was advised that he should “find a new employer.”