Stephen D. Haner

Stephen D. Haner has observed, written about and participated in Virginia public affairs for almost five decades. He has done it from an unusual combination of perspectives: newspaper reporter, Republican political operative, state agency manager and lobbyist.

You can browse through his contributions here.

He is now retired from a practice as an independent government affairs and public relations consultant, doing business as Black Walnut Strategies. Along with serving as contributing editor to Bacon’s Rebellion, Steve took on the role of senior fellow for state and local tax policy at the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy.  That role ended with the election in 2023, although he may continue to contribute policy writing to that organization.

Previous full-time positions have included:

  • Manager of State Government Affairs (2006-2017) for Huntington Ingalls Industries, parent company of Newport News Shipbuilding, Virginia’s largest industrial concern and government contractor.
  • Vice President for Public Policy of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce (2002-2005), serving as the chief lobbyist for Virginia’s premier statewide business advocacy group.
  • Director of Administration, Office of Attorney General (1998-2002), the only non-attorney on the senior management team of what was then Virginia’s third largest law firm. As head of the administration division Steve was responsible for personnel, budget, payroll, the physical plant, information systems, the law library and the regional offices. He was appointed by Mark Earley.
  • Executive Director of the Joint Republican Caucus (1988-1992). After 18 months as state party press secretary, Steve became the first full-time executive of what was then a joint caucus. On his watch the caucus membership increased by 14 seats, despite the Democratic House gerrymander of 1991.
  • Staff Writer, Roanoke Times (1976-1986), serving as the paper’s political writer the final two years.  Steve covered his first legislative elections in 1977 and helped cover the 1981 and 1985 gubernatorial elections. He won both internal writing awards, one for feature writing and the other for news writing. It was at The Roanoke Times that fate brought Steve and Jim Bacon together.

Steve and his wife, Pam, reside in Henrico County.  Both are graduates of The College of William and Mary.