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DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds has made changes in key staff positions within her administration, including a new legislative liaison, a new communications director and a new deputy chief of staff as she gears up for an expected re-election bid in 2022.
According to a Friday news release, Reynolds named Stephanie Groen to serve as deputy chief of staff in her Statehouse office, replacing Paige Thorson. Groen previously was the governor’s federal liaison.
The governor named Molly Severn to serve as her legislative liaison and education policy adviser next session, replacing Logan Shine.
Also, Reynolds announced that Alex Murphy will move from the state Department of Natural Resources to become her new communications director. Murphy will become the governor’s official spokesman, replacing Pat Garrett, who is joining Reynolds’ political team.
In other changes, Meaghan O’Brien takes over for Groen as the governor’s director of state-federal relations, based in Washington, D.C., while Patrick Tomka becomes senior tax and economic policy adviser. He replaces Joel Anderson, who is serving as interim director of the Iowa Department of Management.
Clare Kelly will serve as the governor’s health care policy adviser, replacing Liz Matney, who is now serving as the governor’s Medicaid director.
“Over the last two years, we’ve faced a pandemic, a derecho, civil unrest and more. Being surrounded by an exceptional team has been more important than ever,” Reynolds said in a statement.
“I am proud to lead a team that has continually put Iowans at the center of our decisions. That’s how we will ensure Iowa continues to be the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” she added.