Jeff Rainford is the principal of Rainford and Associates, a pre-eminent government solutions, public policy, and crisis communications firm.
In his more than 30 years in St. Louis media, politics, and government, Rainford has developed the proven ability to create and lead teams to address some of the most difficult legal, legislative and public policy challenges facing regional and local governments. Advising the top elected official in the St. Louis region makes Rainford uniquely qualified to advise corporate, government and civic leaders: he knows how to develop solutions or find the right people who can, decisively implement the solutions while communicating clearly and effectively with the news media, stakeholders and constituents, and do so in a transparent manner that engenders confidence.
Rainford was chief of staff to the mayor of the City of St. Louis for 14 years, the longest tenure in the City’s history. He successfully guided a $1-billion government through some of the most difficult, complex and at times seemingly intractable challenges.
During the worst economy since the Great Depression, the City of St. Louis kept its budget balanced, maintained vital public safety services, reduced crime, met all of its pension obligations, maintained its credit rating, and attracted nearly $1 billion in new investment.
Rainford led a number of high-profile endeavors for the mayor including the initiative to revitalize the grounds of the Gateway Arch, the construction of Busch Stadium, the renovation of one of America’s great urban parks– Forest Park, the creation of a civilian review board, the legalization of same-sex marriages, construction of two new recreation centers, the development of affordable housing, the creation of a regional economic development agency, and the return of local control to the St. Louis police department after more than 150 years of state control.
He was responsible for a number of successful initiatives to help people live better, more productive lives. More than a dozen charter schools opened in the City to offer a quality education to all children regardless of race or where they lived. He helped formulate the City’s highly successful strategy to reduce lead poisoning of children, and a nationally acclaimed plan to reduce chronic homelessness. He put in place a reverse 911 system to call senior citizens and disabled citizens during storms and other weather emergencies to make sure they were OK.
Rainford also led the City’s response to natural disasters. In describing his leadership of a team that won widespread praise for its quick and effective response to a blizzard, the St. Louis Post Dispatch called him “the maestro.”
Rainford has a passion for whatever he tackles and a work-ethic to match. The Post-Dispatch said Rainford has a “Marine-like loyalty to St. Louis.” The St. Louis Business Journal put it this way: “If you’re in a foxhole, the guy you want next to you has got to be Jeff Rainford. The mayor’s chief of staff simply doesn’t give up. Mr. Rainford is articulate, passionate, and committed to the growth and well-being of St. Louis.”
The St. Louis Business Journal and St. Louis Magazine have both named Rainford as one of the St. Louis region’s most influential people.
A native of St. Louis, Rainford graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and joined the staff of KMOX Radio as a general assignment reporter. At KMOX, he won dozens of national awards including the prestigious Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting. Rainford left KMOX Radio to join the staff of KMOV-TV. At KMOV, he won two local Emmy Awards for excellence in broadcasting.
After leaving broadcasting, Rainford started his own political consultancy. He ran several high profile campaigns, including the successful 1999 campaign for a sales tax for the St. Louis Public Schools, and three of Francis Slay’s successful citywide campaigns.
Rainford is on the boards of Fair St. Louis, Ready by 21, CORTEX, the South City YMCA, and Heat Up/Cool Down St. Louis.