Spitfire Strategies

Peter Rafle

Senior Vice President

For more than 20 years, Pete Rafle has specialized in smart, strategic communication, guided by the organization’s mission and driven by its policy and culture-change objectives. Equally comfortable among scientific researchers, constitutional lawyers or grassroots advocates, he is a seasoned translator of complex scientific, legal and legislative issues into language that resonates with non-experts without sacrificing nuance or accuracy. His resume includes campaigns on issues as diverse as climate and energy policy, energy efficiency, sustainable agriculture, wilderness protection, health care access and school discipline.

Pete leads Spitfire’s work for the Pisces Foundation, guiding implementation of the foundation’s overall communication strategy, and also spearheading strategic messaging initiatives related to “superpollutants” – short-lived pollution like methane and hydrofluorocarbons that are many times more potent global warmers and represent a crucial opportunity for short term action to address climate change. He also leads Spitfire’s partnership with the Walton Family Foundation, helping the foundation’s staff and board use its voice to advance its grantmaking strategies around coastal restoration, sustainable fisheries, watershed protection and water management on the Colorado and Mississippi Rivers.

He captains Spitfire’s “Planning to Win” campaign strategy workshops, which provide social-change leaders with a multi-day bootcamp on the fundamentals of effective preparation for multi-faceted sustained advocacy campaigns. Pete is responsible for Spitfire’s current work on the We Are the Arctic Campaign to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, once and for all. Pete led Spitfire’s ongoing work with the Heinz Endowments, helping advocates in western Pennsylvania mount a five-year collaborative effort to secure “the air we need, for the healthy economy we want.” He also oversees Spitfire’s work with coalitions working to restore the Gulf of Mexico from the damage done by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. One of Spitfire’s most seasoned and dynamic trainers, Pete has led workshops to teach advocates the art of strategic communication in more than a dozen U.S. states and as far afield as Genoa, Johannesburg and Jakarta. His reputation as a steady, thoughtful facilitator makes him a top choice for organizations, foundations and coalitions who need help grappling with tough decisions and challenging conversations.

Pete came to Spitfire from the United States Senate, where he was communications director for the Environment and Public Works Committee, providing strategic counsel to Senator Barbara Boxer during her first four years as chairman of the committee. In addition to acting as primary media strategist for the committee’s legislative docket – including toxics and children’s environmental health rules, comprehensive climate change legislation, clean energy job creation, clean air and water bills, and transportation policy – he worked extensively with the Senator’s in-state staff on California environmental and infrastructure issues. He also consulted on a volunteer basis in Washington and in California as part of the Senator’s successful 2010 re-election campaign.

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