Kristin Olsen is a Stanislaus County Supervisor and a Partner at California Strategies, LLC, the state’s largest public affairs consulting firm. Prior to joining California Strategies, Olsen founded Red Suit, LLC, after terming out of the California State Legislature in 2016.
Olsen helps others effectively work within the government sphere and the political landscape. The relationships she has developed and experience she has gained over the past 20 years as both a Capitol staffer and an elected official at the local and state levels, including as Minority Leader of the State Assembly, along with her experience as a trade association executive and higher education administrator, make her uniquely suited to help clients navigate the key players, policies, politics, and processes of state and local government.
While serving as one of the top four leaders in the Legislature, Olsen developed a statewide reputation as a dynamic, forward-thinking leader – “the sort of person the Republicans need” (LA Daily News) and whom Democratic Governor Jerry Brown described as “pragmatic and effective.” She was often cited by both Republican and Democratic peers, as well as by reporters in the media, as one of the most effective legislators, known for building solid bipartisan relationships.
Olsen served as Assembly Republican Leader from 2014 through early 2016. In this capacity, she was the Caucus’ lead negotiator on major policy and fiscal issues, led its political and campaign efforts, and was its principal spokesperson. In her San Joaquin Valley district, Olsen earned high marks as a bipartisan consensus builder whose “party affiliation was of less importance than her Valley affiliation” (Modesto Bee). During her legislative tenure, she served on the Water, Insurance, Agriculture, Health, Privacy, Education, and Higher Education Committees.
In addition to now serving on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors, Olsen is a founding board member of New Way California and serves on the Board of Directors for CA Women Lead that recruits and trains women to pursue appointed and elected office. She is one of just 300 Aspen-Rodel Fellows across the United States and the California State Director for the National Foundation for Women Legislators. In 2018, Olsen was named one of 60 California Influencers – a role in which she provided commentary on policy matters and election issues for McClatchy newspapers across California. She is a frequent speaker on California politics and the importance of multi-partisanship and civility in the public square.
Prior to being elected to the Assembly, Olsen served five years on the Modesto City Council (2005-10) and two years on the Modesto Planning Commission (2004-05). Professionally, she served as the Assistant Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs at CSU Stanislaus (2006-2010), and as the Senior Communications Manager for the California Restaurant Association (1999-2004). Her first job out of college was as a California Senate Fellow (’96-’97) and then a legislative aide and press secretary in the State Senate.
Olsen graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from Westmont College and is a strong voice for a well-rounded, liberal arts education. She lives in Riverbank, CA, with her three children, and loves music and soccer.