Jonathan S. Miller
Jonathan Miller, the Member-in-Charge of Frost Brown Todd’s Lexington office, also leads the firm’s Kentucky government relations practice as Principal of its public affairs affiliate, CivicPoint.
A former statewide elected official turned “recovering politician,” Jonathan assists his broad client base – ranging from Fortune 500 firms, to aspiring entrepreneurs, to non-profit associations – in navigating complex local, state and federal government institutions through his counsel on legal, public policy, political and public relations matters. Jonathan leads teams of lawyers, lobbyists and economic development specialists in helping his clients win and retain government contracts and incentives, develop and execute public-private partnerships, and survive and transcend crisis management episodes.
In his law practice, Jonathan brings to bear for clients his experience from the top levels of state government (elected two-term State Treasurer and Finance Cabinet Secretary), politics (former state Democratic Party chair and prime-time speaker at the 2000 Democratic National Convention); and Capitol Hill (senior aide to a Vice President, a U.S. Secretary of Energy and a U.S. Congressman.)
Some of Jonathan’s most recent client successes include:
- With the Panama Canal expansion imminent, local officials in far-West Kentucky approached Jonathan to help them seize the economic advantage of the expected increase of Mississippi River traffic. Jonathan led a seven-month strategic initiative, and the West Kentucky Alliance for Vibrant Economy (WAVE) concluded with a successful Confluence that drew more than 225 participants, including the Governor and senior U.S. officials. Now, Jonathan is leading a public-private partnership to develop a new riverport terminal at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.
- Building an alliance of energy savings companies, financial services firms and environmental policy advocates, Jonathan spearheaded local and state lobbying efforts to pass legislation that created the Energy Project Assessment District (EPAD) program, bringing to Kentucky an innovative financing mechanism that makes it possible for Kentucky businesses to engage in energy improvements of their properties without impacting their bottom lines. Jonathan now advises companies that developing multimillion-dollar building improvement projects using the EPAD model.
- Over the past four years, Jonathan has emerged as one of the nation’s leading advocates for the full legalization of industrial hemp, and upon leading successful lobbying efforts in Kentucky and Washington that laid the groundwork for the current hemp pilot program regime, Jonathan serves as trusted counsel to dozens of companies in the industrial hemp space, with his full-service complement of law partners offering client counsel on issues ranging from intellectual property to corporate transactions to FDA regulation. Jonathan helped lead the successful legal battle against the DEA’s 2014 efforts to ban the importation of hemp seeds for Kentucky pilot programs, and now serves as general counsel to the U.S. Hemp Farming and Business Roundtable, a leading national grass-tops organization committed to securing congressional passage of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017.
- When a deal was announced between a state university and a local hospital that could have promoted a monopoly over health care services, other health care providers hired Jonathan to lead a multifaceted effort to challenge the arrangement through the legal process, the General Assembly, and the media. After an intensive crisis management effort, the deal was withdrawn, replaced by a competitive bidding process that ensured more local health care choices at lower prices.
There are typically three types of government relations professionals. Those with broad, substantive knowledge in matters of law and public policy; those that can refine and articulate an effective message to policymakers and bureaucrats, and those with the political skills and personal connections to navigate administrative and legislative progress. Jonathan is all of the above. As former Republican National Chairman Michael Steele opines: “It is the rare individual that can combine intense substantive legal and policy experience with a broad understanding of the interpersonal dynamics and deep personal relationships that make our system of government prosper. Jonathan Miller is not only uniquely gifted, but more importantly, a good friend and trusted advisor.”
Jonathan is also a uniquely gifted communicator, authoring three books on faith, public policy and crisis management (including the nationally acclaimed The Compassionate Community (St. Martin’s Press: 2006), and serving as a regular contributor to the national political journal The Daily Beast and the popular college sports site, Kentucky Sports Radio. He has appeared on dozens of national news talk shows including: MSNBC’s The Cycle, Fox News’ Fox and Friends and Happening Now, CNN’s America’s Choice and Crossfire, CNBC’s Morning Call, NBC’s Dateline NBC, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, and Bloomberg’s Market Makers; serves as a semi-regular American politics commentator for Canada’s CTV News; and even played straight man to correspondent/comedian Al Madrigal on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He has also testified before the U.S. House on energy efficiency and the U.S. Senate on student credit card debt.
Jonathan’s analytic abilities brought him both high honors from Harvard’s college and law school, and led him to the final table of the World Series of Poker. He, and his youth camp sweetheart, Lisa, are proudest of their two, 20-something children, Emily and Abigail.
Highlights & Recognitions
- As Secretary of Finance and Administration, he chaired pension reform efforts, led the way on the Administration’s broadband expansion program, spearheaded the Governor’s e-transparency initiative, and launched a first-in-the-country Green Bank to fund public energy efficiency initiatives.
- Among his many accomplishments as Kentucky State Treasurer was the creation of Kentucky’s Affordable Prepaid Tuition (KAPT) program, which has helped make it easier for nearly 10,000 families to afford college.
- Named by the Aspen Institute as one of 24 members of the first class of its Rodel Fellowship program, whose mission is to enhance our democracy by identifying and bringing together the nation's most promising young political leaders.
- Appointed by President George W. Bush in 2002 to the National Summit on Retirement Savings, and named the same year to the Executive Monitoring Commission of local and state financial officers that monitored the return of assets seized during the Holocaust to their rightful owners.
- Winner in 2010 of the University of Kentucky’s First Annual Public Service Sustainability Award, “in recognition of the personal commitment to environmental issues and sustainability practices”; and of the 2009 President’s Award from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Memberships & Affiliations
- Kentucky Bar Association, Member
- Lexington Urban League, Former Board Member
- Temple Adath Israel, Member
- Former state treasurer appointed member-in-charge of Frost Brown Todd, Lexington
- Panama Canal expansion could have economic impact on Western Kentucky
- Petition: Replace Jefferson Davis statue in Capitol with tribute to Muhammad Ali
- Rand Paul’s presidential bid altered Kentucky’s political landscape
- What to expect from the Kentucky General Assembly session
- Animal welfare as the salvation of horse racing?
Civic & Charitable Organizations
- Co-founder, No Labels
- Member, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee
- Teaches Sunday School to high school students at Temple Adath Israel since 1998 on the subject of Tikkun Olam, healing the world.
Non-FBT Publications and Events
Extensive local and national public communication experiences, including as a Contributor to The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post and The Times of Israel, founder of The Recovering Politician blog, a featured address at the 2000 Democratic National Convention, being pictured on the cover of The New Democrat as one of nation's 100 rising stars; and has appeared on dozens of national news talk shows including: MSNBC’s The Cycle, Fox News’ Fox and Friends and Happening Now, CNN’s America’s Choice and Crossfire, CNBC’s Morning Call, NBC’s Dateline NBC, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, and Bloomberg’s Market Makers; serves as a semi-regular American politics commentator for Canada’s CTV News and the Wall Street Journal’s Daily Wrap; and even played straight man to correspondent/comedian Al Madrigal on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He has also testified before the U.S. House on energy efficiency and the U.S. Senate on student credit card debt.
Author: The Compassionate Community, Ten Values to Unite America (Palgrave Macmillan: 2006), a critically lauded book on the role of faith and values in public policy, with an afterword by Vice President Al Gore. Twelve-state national book tour.
The Liberal Case for Israel (The Recovering Politician: 2011)
The Recovering Politician’s Twelve Step Program to Survive Crisis (The Recovering Politician: 2013)
Jonathan S. Miller & Nolan M. Jackson, The Evolving Law and Regulation of Industrial Hemp in the United States, 8 J. of Animal & Envtl. L. 12 (2017)