Vice Chair of the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission: Who Is Dennis Shea?

Thursday, April 27, 2017
Dennis Shea

Dennis Shea, the vice chair of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, has served on the commission since 2007. Part of the legislative branch, the commission’s 12 members are appointed by the Senate and House majority and minority leaders, each of whom gets three selections. The commission submits an annual report to Congress on the national security aspects of the U.S.-China relationship and makes recommendations for action. Shea was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) to a term expiring December 31, 2018.


Born circa 1961, Dennis Clarke Shea earned three degrees at Harvard University: a B.A. in Government in 1983, an M.A. in History in 1983, and a J.D. in 1986. 


Shea worked for Senator Robert Dole (R-Kansas) from 1988 to 1996, initially as counsel and rising to become deputy chief of staff. In 1992, Shea interrupted his service with Dole to make a run for Congress in New York, losing to Democratic incumbent Thomas Manton 56%-44%. During the 1996 elections, Shea was the director of policy for Dole’s unsuccessful presidential campaign.


Following Dole’s loss and retirement from politics, Shea became a lobbyist. When Dole was hired by D.C. lobbying firm Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson, and Hand, he insisted that Shea be hired as well. After lobbying for Verner, Liipfert in 1997 and 1998, Shea took a job with lobbying firm BKSH & Associates, where he worked from January 1998 to January 2002.


Shea spent 2003 serving as executive director of the President’s Commission on the United States Postal Service, which made recommendations for changes to the Postal Service, some of which were reflected in the 2006 postal reform law. 


In 2004 and 2005, Shea served as assistant secretary for Policy Development and Research at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Office for Policy Development and Research, conducts much of the analysis necessary to support the department’s mission.


In 2005, Shea left to serve as senior advisor to Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-North Carolina), who was chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.


After the 2006 elections, Shea became vice president for government affairs in the Americas for Pitney Bowes Inc. From April 2007 to April 2009, Shea led the company’s government relations efforts in the U.S. and Canada. In 2010, he left to start his own firm, Shea Public Strategies LLC


Dennis Shea serves as a consultant to the Bipartisan Policy Center Senior Health and Housing Task Force and to the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families. Shea resides in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife Elizabeth and daughter Juliette.

-Matt Bewig


To Learn More:

Official Biography

Here are 4 Steps Ben Carson Should Take as HUD secretary: What will be Carson’s Signature Issues be? (by Anand Parekh and Dennis Shea, Housing Wire)

Affordable Housing Policy: A Bipartisan Path Forward (by Michael Stegman and Dennis Shea, Affordable Housing Finance) 


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