Dubbed "The Negotiator" by ColoradoBiz Magazine and a "power lobbyist" by Colorado Politics, Melissa Kuipers Blake is a leading lobbyist and seasoned political strategist with more than 20 years of national political experience at the local, state and federal levels of government. Melissa leads negotiations for her clients between elected officials throughout the country and in Washington, D.C., and is known for her issue knowledge, political strategy development and campaign fundraising prowess. When it comes to behind the scenes negotiations and subject matter expertise, Melissa is second to none.
In addition to her national lobbying practice, Melissa serves as co-chair of Brownstein’s Cannabis & Industrial Hemp industry group, which helps shape legislative policies for these industries. Having worked on cannabis issues since day one of legalization in Colorado, Melissa has a foundational perspective on the growth of the industry and its players. She regularly shares that expertise from a statutory, regulatory, compliance and workplace perspective.
Melissa also chairs the firm’s Emerging Regulated Industries (ERI) practice group, which assists state and local governments and employers throughout the country as they confront growth in emerging industries that are subject to intense public scrutiny and governmental regulation by mapping out a strategy based on practical experience and a proven legal framework.
At the core of Melissa’s government relations practice is her reputation for integrity, honesty and professionalism. Melissa is a close and trusted confidant to a number of key members of the Colorado Senate and House as well as several statewide elected officials across the country. She can often be found in the war rooms of multiple campaigns and has helped influence the outcome of many elections through her election advice and successful fundraising strategies.
While Melissa’s influence in the halls of the Colorado Capitol is extensive, she also maintains significant relationships in Washington, D.C., with numerous members of Congress from all parts of the country. Melissa spends a substantial amount of time in Washington, D.C., in addition to her state and local lobbying work in Colorado.
Melissa regularly provides insights to state and local media on a variety of legislative issues and is often tapped to speak at national conferences to share her political and legislative advice as well as her cannabis regulatory expertise. She is widely recognized by local and national media for her government relations successes, including being named one of the Denver Business Journal’s “Top Forty under 40” at the age of 29, being named a Rising Star in 5280 Magazine’s 2014 list of the most powerful people in Denver, being picked as a Top 25 Young Professional by ColoradoBiz Magazine in 2015 and being selected by her peers as a Top Lawyer in Government Relations/Lobbying in 5280 Magazine's 2016, 2017 and 2018 Top Lawyer's list.
Prior to joining Brownstein, Melissa was the vice president of government relations and communications for the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, where she represented 270 new franchised auto dealers in Colorado. Prior to her work with the automobile industry, Melissa served as the legislative director for the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, was a legislative aide in the Florida Senate and worked for several years in the Florida Legislature for the Rubin Group, based in Tallahassee. Melissa also practiced law for two years in Miami, Florida, representing P.F. Chang's and The Cheesecake Factory in their employment litigation matters.
In her personal time, Melissa serves as the CEO of Baking for the Troops, a Colorado-based nonprofit which prepares and sends homemade care packages of baked goods to members of the U.S. military deployed throughout the world. Since Melissa founded the organization in 2009, she and her team of volunteers have sent more than 2,000 boxes of cards and baked goods to military personnel in countless regions of the globe, including Afghanistan and Iraq.
Melissa is licensed to practice law in Colorado, Florida and Washington, D.C.