Who is Robert Stryk?
It depends on who you ask.
On the surface, it is pretty simple: Robert Stryk is a Washington, D.C. political operative who owns a vineyard in Southern Oregon. But a deeper look shows that there is something more interesting going on in the Umpqua Valley wine region. Stryk, who owns both the Washington, D.C. based Sonoran Policy Group (SPG) http://www.spgdc.com and Pyrenees Vineyard & Cellars,http://www.pyreneesvineyard.com south of Roseburg, considers Oregon his place of peaceful solace.
But everything about this tranquil part of the State that brought him to this area changed on October 1, 2015. There was a shooting at the Umpqua Community College and the first victim was Kim Dietz. Kim, along with her husband Erik and daughter,lived at Pyrenees Vineyard & Cellars. Erik is manager of the vineyard.
When asked about the shooting, Stryk stated unequivocally:
“This shit must stop it has just broken my heart. It is time for us as a country to wake up and realize that we must invest our resources into aggressive mental health treatment. But on the other side of the situation the only way to ensure personal peace and prosperity for every American is to defend the individual right allowing them to properly arm themselves.”
Stryk added that firearms training and safety are essential to gun ownership. Stryk is a staunch defender of the Second Amendment and is a notable fundraiser and lifetime member of the National Rifle Association (NRA). But he bristles when he is called a right-winger.
“My vigorous support of the Second Amendment and the NRA has nothing to do my with politics. I am simply a pro-life, anti-death penalty, and pro-human rights American who supports every persons right to unlock their own individual genius.”
“The Second Amendment is the ultimate bodyguard of the First Amendment,” says Stryk. “That said, if you don’t want a gun, don’t buy one. That is the freedom we all have.”
Stryk recently held his annual fundraiser for the NRA at Pyrenees, his vineyard in the Umpqua Valley. And that’s where the story gets even more interesting. Stryk’s love of Oregon causes some of the most powerful figures in American politics and business to travel to his small vineyard to discuss the issues facing America while sipping glasses of Chardonnay on his deck overlooking the Umpqua River.
And like any politico, he knows everybody in the area.
Nic McKinley, a former CIA Special Agent who runs the anti-child trafficking group Deliver Fund, http://deliverfund.org/ said: “Stryk is the real deal and is a trusted friend in the community. ”
Stuart Jolly, who is one of the top political operatives in the Country, enjoys visiting Stryk at Pyrenees. Jolly previously served as National Field Director for Donald Trump’s campaign for President. Now Jolly is part of a SuperPAC with former Reagan campaign manager Ed Rollins.
Jolly says Stryk,
“Flies way below the radar and doesn’t seek publicity for himself, but when you need him, you need him, and everyone knows Stryk and if they don’t they inevitably will.”
Stryk attributes his rugged political style to his Arizona upbringing. Prior to starting his SPG advisory, he worked in the U.S. Congress. Years later, Stryk would fall in love with Oregon wine and become the proprietor of Pyrenees. But for all intents and purposes, Stryk seamlessly juggles both the responsibilities of a vineyard owner and the demands of a Washington, D.C. political operative.
Unlike many of his Washington, D.C. colleagues, Stryk shuns traditional D.C. garb and instead wears v-neck t-shirts, jackets, jeans and cowboy boots. Stryk quips: “What else does a man need?”
It is a style that appears intended, despite some high-profile clients, to keep him under the radar.
His typical travel schedule includes commutes between Washington, D.C. and both Santa Barbara and Healdsburg, CA. The Umpqua Valley is where Stryk says he goes to “get away from it all… except, for meetings with people I want to see.”
“I think the reason I have been blessed with such an amazing career is that I have the ability to get out of the beltway bubble and spend time with people that don’t give a damn about the garbage in Washington, D.C.,” says Stryk.
“As a result, me and my team’s advisory is based on real-life solutions to real-life problems. It’s why SPG has grown like it has. Clients yearn for authentic leadership from a group of folks who know how to make things right, providing the insurance when things are at their worst. And when it seems like Rome is falling, we might just pop open a bottle of Pyrenees wine, light a cigar, and figure out what to do next. It’s a cliché for a reason: Thinking outside the box is paramount.”
The first I heard of Robert Stryk was when his name began appearing almost daily in Oregon newspapers. Stryk and his team were running a PAC for Dr. Monica Wehby, the pediatric neurosurgeon turned national political darling who lost to Senator Jeff Merkley in dramatic fashion in 2014.
The PAC, which billed itself as something Oregon has never seen, was pulling in big dollars from the likes of Chicago Cubs owner Todd Ricketts and Barbara Banke, the owner of the popular Kendall Jackson wine label. The PAC and their actions put Stryk and his companies in the cross-hairs of what Stryk calls, “the most hyperactive and highly liberal media in the Country.”
Stryk’s client was subject to a constant onslaught from the Oregon media – some calling her “Oregon’s version of Sarah Palin”.
Stryk fights back against attacks on Wehby.
“Monica is a brilliant and successful woman who was, unfortunately, not ready for the rough and tumble world of national politics. She was badly managed in her Senate campaign and I always like the underdogs… they make life interesting.”
That being said, it is clear that Stryk doesn’t care what others think and his primary concern are for his clients, vineyard employees, and a team of close-knit political operatives who are known both for their professionalism and creativity, but who are also known to turn vicious in fierce defense of their clients.
Chip Lake, who is a leading national GOP operative based in Georgia, who previously served as Chief of Staff to House Intelligence Sub-Committee Chairman Lynn Westmoreland, added: “Stryk is wide open and it is always exciting.”
So who is Robert Stryk? He is a winery proprietor who would like you stop by Pyrenees Vineyard & Cellars. Stryk isn’t afraid to get into the mix, so he may be the gentleman pouring your wine.