Jim Rhea has left the First Amendment Foundation for a gig in state government. Rhea was the foundation's director and general counsel. Now he's at the Department of Financial Services, led by Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, in a newly created position as public records managing attorney. Rhea, a Florida State alumnus, had worked as staff director of the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries from 2008 to 2009.
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GOP convention veteran James Davis has been named director of communications for next year’s Republican National Convention in Tampa. More from the St. Pete Times here.
There's more to report from the summer shake-up of Senate President Mike Haridopolos' office.
Arlene DiBenigno, who worked on Haridopolos' U.S. Senate campaign while on unpaid leave as the Senate's first director of minority outreach, has a new state role. She has worked in the Senate Majority Office since July 24 as a senior legislative analyst. We told you in July about DiBenigno's role in Haridopolos' campaign, not long before he called it off.She has also helped translate the Senate's website into Spanish, an update that is in the testing stage, said Haridopolos spokeswoman Lyndsey Cruley.
Speaking of Cruley, Ryan Duffy left Ron Sachs Communications earlier this month to take her old job as House leadership press secretary. Before joining Ron Sachs in September 2010, Duffy was deputy communications director for Bill McCollum's unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign. He has worked as a speechwriter for former U.S. Sens. George Lemieux and Mel Martinez, as well as former Gov. Jeb Bush.
More changes in the Senate Majority office: When former director Katherine Halley moved to Haridopolos' office, legislative analyst Tony Cortese took the helm Aug. 1. And Eric Edwards, a former legislative analyst in the Majority Office, began a new job today in the Capitol office of Republican Sen. Don Gaetz as a legislative aide.
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Apryl Marie Fogel started her new job today in the Washington, D.C., office of freshman Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar. She will be his director of communications, she announced on her blog. Fogel resigned her job as state director of Americans for Prosperity-Florida in April.
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Former state Rep. Marcelo Llorente, R-Miami, joined government affairs and business development firm LSN Partners as an equity partner, the firm announced last week. Llorente will focus on private sector business development. An attorney, Llorente was first elected to the House in 2002.
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Sunshine State News announced it hired two journalists with backgrounds in Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers for its Capitol office. Joe Saunders, now the website's news editor, spent 10 years working for Scripps in a variety of roles, including reporter and metro editor. He has also worked at The Bradenton Herald and West Virginia's Charleston Gazette.
Jim Turner joined Sunshine State News as a reporter after spending 20 years at Scripps. He will report on the Legislature and business.
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The Department of Children and Families reassigned a couple of communications professionals across the state. Erin Gillespie, Suncoast region communications director, moved to the agency's Tallahassee headquarters for to become its press secretary in charge of general media calls. Teresa Durdaller, previously the northwest region communications director, will take her Gillespie's place overseeing the Suncoast region, which stretches from Tampa Bay to Collier County.
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Send your personnel updates to Katie Sanders at ksanders[at]sptimes[dot]com or via Twitter @KatieLSanders.