Rhett Buttle




Public Private Strategies (PPS)

Public Private Strategies Institute (PPSI)

Aspen Institute

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Rhett Buttle is a career Democratic activist and operative. He is a senior fellow at the Aspen Institute and runs the left-leaning small business advocacy group Public Private Strategies (PPS), as well as its charitable and advocacy nonprofit affiliates.


While attending the University of San Diego for degrees in political science and sociology, Rhett Buttle served as an executive fellow in the office of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (R) and later volunteered on then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama’s (D-IL) presidential campaign. From 2009 to 2010, Buttle earned a master’s degree in political management and public policy at George Washington University while he worked as the director of special projects for the office of the president at the university. 1

From 2010 to 2014, Buttle served as the director of national outreach and public affairs and then as the vice president of external affairs at the Small Business Majority, a business advocacy organization aligned with left-of-center interests. 2

From 2014 to 2016, Buttle worked as the director of private sector engagement at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Buttle has described his role as a liaison between the Department and the Obama White House to the private healthcare sector and the LGBT community. 3

From February to July 2016, Buttle returned to Small Business Majority to serve as president and managing director. 4

In July 2016, Buttle stepped down to serve as director of business engagement for the presidential campaign of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Buttle designed “a strategy that secured support from domestic and international business leaders.” 5 In 2020, Buttle worked in a similar role as national business advisor for Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. 6

In August 2016, Rhett was given the LGBT Business Advocate Award by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. 7

In 2017, Buttle became a senior fellow at the Aspen Institute and remains in the role as of June 2024. 8

Also in 2017, Buttle founded Public Private Strategies, an LLC that conducts research to encourage greater government support for small businesses in the United States, particularly those owned by racial minorities. In 2020, Buttle founded a 501(c)(3) affiliate, the Public Private Strategies Institute (PPSI), to further the same goals mostly through building small business and nonprofit networks. 9 According to Buttle’s LinkedIn, there is also a 501(c)(4) affiliate to Public Private Strategies. 10

Rhett was involved in the founding of the Small Business Roundtable, Small Business for America’s Future, and the Next Gen Chamber of Commerce. 11 Rhett also served as a co-executive director of the Small Business Roundtable. 12

Political Views

In February 2024, Rhett Buttle wrote an article for Forbes supporting the CHIPS and Science Act for its benefits to small businesses. 13

In December 2023, Buttle wrote an article for Forbes advocating for the federal government to create programs to encourage private savings for retirement. 14

In September 2023, Buttle co-wrote an op-ed with Leadership Now Project chief executive officer Daniella Ballou-Aares and Black Economic Alliance chief executive officer Samantha Tweedy advocating for small businesses to support election security. 15

In March 2021, Buttle wrote a statement on behalf of Small Business for America’s Future endorsing the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan designed to combat the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 16

Buttle has made donations to President Joe Biden, U.S. Congressional candidate Steve Kerrigan (D-MA), former Michigan state Representative Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo), and Montana state Representative Bryce Bennet (D-Missoula). 17


  1. “Rhett Buttle.” LinkedIn. Accessed June 6, 2024.
  2. “Rhett Buttle.” LinkedIn. Accessed June 6, 2024.
  3. “Rhett Buttle.” LinkedIn. Accessed June 6, 2024.
  4. “Rhett Buttle.” LinkedIn. Accessed June 6, 2024.
  5. “Rhett Buttle.” LinkedIn. Accessed June 6, 2024.
  6. “Rhett Buttle.” LinkedIn. Accessed June 6, 2024.
  7. “USHCC to Honor Rhett Buttle With “LGBT Business Advocate Award”.” Yahoo! Sports. August 22, 2016. Accessed June 6, 2024.
  8. “Rhett Buttle.” LinkedIn. Accessed June 6, 2024.
  9. “Rhett Buttle.” LinkedIn. Accessed June 6, 2024.
  10. “Rhett Buttle.” LinkedIn. Accessed June 6, 2024.
  11. “Rhett Buttle.” Aspen Institute. Accessed June 6, 2024.
  12. Keene, Houston. “Republican senators alarmed by Biden nominee’s ties to ‘anti-Israel’ group.” Fox News. June 30, 2021. Accessed June 6, 2024.
  13. Buttle, Rhett. “One Year Later: Five Ways The CHIPS And Science Act Can Support Small Businesses.” Forbes. February 27, 2024. Accessed June 6, 2024.
  14. Buttle, Rhett. “Politics Should Not Hamper Retirement Security For Anyone.” Forbes. December 28, 2023. Accessed June 6, 2024.
  15. Buttle, Rhett; Ballou-Aares, Daniella; Tweedy, Samantha. “Supporting democracy is not a partisan issue–it’s what all Americans expect of business ahead of the 2024 election.” Fortune. September 11, 2023. Accessed June 6, 2024.
  16. “Signing of American Rescue Plan a Big Win for Small Businesses Seeking to Adapt and Rebuild from Pandemic.” Small Business for America’s Future. March 11, 2021. Accessed June 6, 2024.
  17. “Search: Rhett Buttle.” Open Secrets. Accessed June 7, 2024.
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