Jonathan Burks (SFS '99)
Former Chief of Staff, Speaker Paul Ryan - Fall '19
Jonathan Burks (SFS '99) is a policy and political professional with two decades experience at the highest levels of public service. During his career, he’s served as a negotiator on complex legislation, a strategic advisor on high-profile issues, and a leader of large and diverse teams. In 2019, he started JWB Advisors, a boutique advisory firm focused on providing timely insights into Washington policy making.
Prior to his move to the private sector, Burks most recently served as the chief of staff to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, where he managed a team of over 40 staff and served as the Speaker’s principal adviser on policy, strategy, and management. During his tenure as the Speaker’s chief of staff, Congress enacted the first comprehensive tax reform in over 30 years, reached a bipartisan budget agreement, and reformed the criminal sentencing and prison systems. Burks was promoted to chief of staff after having served as the Speaker’s national security adviser where he was responsible for advising the Speaker on sensitive intelligence, defense, and foreign policy issues.
Prior to joining the Speaker’s office, Burks advised Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on budget and appropriations issues where he was a principal negotiator of the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act. Before going to the Senate, Burks served as policy director of the House Budget Committee, director of legislative affairs at the Securities and Exchange Commission, senior advisor (chief of staff) to the Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, and policy advisor in the transition office of the newly created Director of National Intelligence. Burks also served as the deputy policy director on the 2012 Romney for President campaign.
Early in his career, Burks served four years at the White House including two years as the youngest White House commissioned officer then serving. During his time at the White House, he served as Vice President Cheney’s staff secretary, associate staff secretary to President Bush, and special assistant to the President for policy in the Chief of Staff’s office.
In his two decades of public service, Burks has developed deep policy expertise on a wide range of issues from intelligence policy to securities law to tax and health care policy. He has deep relationships on both sides of the aisle and a demonstrated record of success in achieving policy victories.
Burks has a M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor of science in foreign service from Georgetown University. He lives with his wife and son in Alexandria, Virginia.
In Fall 2019, his discussion group was: "Policy Meets Politics."