May 14, 2014

Durbin Flack Gleischman Moving to U.S. Ambassador to U.N. Office

Max GleischmanPolitico’s Mike Allen reports that Max Gleischman is the new Communications Director and spokesperson for U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power.  Gleischman had been serving as Communications Director for Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL).

Allen replaced Nayyera Hag, who was serving as acting director following the departure of Erin Pelton.  (Politico)

February 01, 2014

White House Deputy Press Secretary Smith Leaving White House for Private Sector

Jamie SmithPolitico’s Mike Allen reports that Jamie Smith, a deputy press secretary in the White House, will “leave the West Wing on Feb. 7 after four years in the Obama administration.”

Allen reports that Smith will remain in Washington and join the private sector.

Smith worked on the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in 2008, only Capitol Hill and for the Director of National Intelligence.

Per Allen:

    Smith, a special assistant to the president, came to the White House in June, 2011, from the Office of the DNI, where she was director of public affairs during the Arab Spring and the Osama bin Laden raid. Before that, she was communications director for Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) when he was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and later when he chaired the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

    Smith also served as traveling press director of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.  On New Year’s Eve, 2007, she took two days off the campaign trail to marry Eric Pierce, now principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for legislative affairs. Then the two drove from Chicago back to Iowa to meet up with the campaign. The real honeymoon came a year later.

    Smith has also been communications director for former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the Albright Group; legislative aide to Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.); and operations manager for issue advocacy at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. She’s a native of Buffalo Grove, Ill., and graduated from Kenyon College.  (Politico’s Mike Allen)

December 16, 2013

Rear Adm. Kirby Named new Pentagon Press Secretary

Rear Adm. John KirbySecretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that Rear Adm. (lower half) John Kirby will serve as Pentagon press secretary and his principal spokesman.

According to a release, Rear Adm. (lower half) Kirby, who currently serves as the U.S. Navy's chief of information, has long been a trusted voice for the U.S. Department of Defense and is one of its leading public affairs officers.  He previously served as one of DoD's top spokesmen under Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and as chief spokesman and public affairs advisor to Adm. Mike Mullen throughout his tenure as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Rear Adm. Kirby grew up in St. Petersburg, FL. He is a 1985 graduate of the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla., where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in History. He holds a Master of Science degree in International Relations from Troy State University and a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.  (PF tipster)

July 29, 2013

DNI, ICE Vet Feinstein Named TSA Press Secretary

Ross FeinsteinRoss Feinstein is the new Press Secretary for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

He was spokesman at Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from 2010-2013 and Deputy Press Secretary at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) from 2005-2010.

In 2003 he worked in communications at the U.S. Mission to the U.N. and in 2002 he worked in corporate communications at The New York Times.

He is a 2005 graduate of Union College.  (PF tipster)

June 09, 2013

Remainders: Items We Missed

Sorry we missed youCatching up on some important flack items we missed:

  • Justin DeJong is the new Vice President, Editorial and Channel Strategy at the American Medical Association.  He was the Director of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, overseeing media relations for the third largest federal department, including for First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative.  DeJong is a veteran of the 2008 Obama campaign and former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s office.
  • Todd Winer is the new Communications Director for U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID).  He previously worked for U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and as a speechwriter for former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX).
  • White House flack Clark Stevens is the new Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  Stevens was an Assistant White House Press Secretary and from 2009-2010 was first Press Secretary at FEMA, then at DHS.  He previously worked on the 2008 Obama campaign and 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee.
  • Former Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director for U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) Jennifer Hoelzer launched an LA-based public affairs firm, IOC Strategies, Inc.  Hoelzer has a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School and has consulted on the HBO series, “Veep.”  She previously worked for U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Sanford Bishop (D-GA) and as a writer/producer for The McLaughlin Group.

May 14, 2013

REMAINDERS: McDowell joins Blue Engine; Beirne & Vargas To WH; Gor to Rand 2016

Occasionally, we miss some important flack-related items.  Here are a few:

  • First reported in Politico’sPlaybook,” Amber McDowell has joined DC-based strategic communications firm Blue Engine Message & Media.  She was most recently Communications Director for U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA).  She also was Speechwriter and Press Secretary for Gov. Phil Bredesen (D-TN) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM).  She worked on the Obama-Biden re-elect and at the 2012 DNC Convention in Charlotte.  (Politico’s “Playbook”)
  • Katherine Vargas is the new Director of Hispanic Media at the White House.  She was previously Communications Director for the National Immigration Forum, and also worked at the National Immigration Law Center and the International Rescue Committee.  She is a native of Colombia who immigrated to the U.S. in 1997.
  • Katie Beirne, the Staff Director for the Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Center has replaced Jennifer Palmieri as Deputy Communications Director at the White House.  According to Politico, she will be in charge of outreach to surrogates and message coordination with outside groups.  (Politico)
  • Sergio Gor has been named Spokesman for RAND PAC, the political action committee, and presidential campaign in waiting, of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).  Gor was formerly spokesman for Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN) and on the campaign of Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA. (Politico)

April 19, 2013

Flack Colburn named CoS at HUD

Brent ColburnFirst reported in Politico’s Playbook,” Brent Colburn, a veteran of Obama administration and both presidential campaigns, is the new chief of staff to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.

Colburn, 37, was National Communications Director for the president’s re-election campaign, and was Communications Director of this year's Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Before moving to Chicago for last year's campaign, he was Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

He’s a graduate of William & Mary.  (Politico’s “Playbook”)

April 11, 2013

DNC Flack Roussell Appointed HUD A/S for Public Affairs

Melanie RoussellMelanie Roussell, the DNC Press Secretary since August 2011, has been appointed U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs.

Roussell returns to HUD where she served as Press Secretary from 2009-2011.  Previously she was spokesperson for the 2008 presidential Inaugural Committee and southern Regional Communications Director for the Obama campaign.  She was also Communication Director for the House Judiciary Committee (majority) under Chairman John Conyers (D-MI).

Roussell graduated from Florida A&M University and earned a Master’s from American University.  (PF tipster)

February 01, 2013

Former Giffords CoS and DHS A/S for Public Affairs to run new Giffords PAC

Pia CarusoneFirst reported in PoliticoPlaybook,” Pia Carusone, longtime chief of staff to former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), just left her post as Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security, to be executive director of the new Giffords PAC, Americans for Responsible Solutions.  (Politico “Playbook”)

January 30, 2013

Top Treasury Communicator LeCompte Departing, Wyeth Earnest to Replace

Jenni LeCompteFirst reported in Politico’sPlaybook,” Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Jenni LeCompte will conclude her Treasury tour of duty this Friday.  Per Politico, “LeCompte, the first political appointee sworn in at Treasury in the Obama Administration, will continue to help Geithner with communications matters but otherwise take time off before pursuing other opportunities.”

LeCompte was Deputy CEO for Public Affairs for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. She was a Regional Communications Director for the Kerry-Edwards 2004 campaign, Deputy Communications Director for the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston and on Capitol Hill for Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).  She also served in the Clinton White House.

Natalie Wyeth Earnest, another longtime veteran of the Treasury public-affairs team, picks up the Acting Assistant Secretary title. (Politico’s “Playbook”)

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    Matt Mackowiak is a Washington, D.C. and Austin,TX-based Republican strategist and communications consultant and President of Potomac Strategy Group, LLC. In his career he has managed a winning Congressional campaign and worked in the U.S. Senate, at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, at a leading international PR firm, on a presidential campaign in Iowa and in White House presidential advance. Follow him on Twitter - @MattMackowiak

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