WASHINGTON--Mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel snagged White House assistant press secretary Ben LaBolt to be communications director for his mayoral campaign, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.
And in other campaign hiring, Emanuel is picking up Anna Valencia, an Illinois campaign veteran to be field director for his campaign.
LaBolt, 29, is a catch for Emanuel. He has a perfect--and unique-- resume for the job.
The LaGrange native knows Chicago politics. He's been with the Obama campaign since the beginning and in the Obama White House since Day One--so he can explain Emanuel's job as White House chief of staff. LaBolt also worked for a House member, so he can go through Emanuel's congressional record if need be. LaBolt knows and has worked with the national and local press corps in a campaign that is already attracting national and international press. LaBolt is a veteran of the Obama presidential campaign and knows all about rapid response and pushback--all skills he will need in what may well be a brutal contest.
Highlights from the LaBolt file:
*Graduate of Lyons Township High School
*Served as press secretary and legislative assistant for Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and was press secretary for then Sen. Barack Obama. In those posts, LaBolt managed relations with the Congressional and Chicago press corps.
*Other political experience: a stint at the Democratic National Committeel; press secretary for then-Congressman Sherrod Brown's successful campaign for the U.S. Senate.
*In the Obama presidential campaign, LaBolt in Chicago was a national spokesman who handled the rapid response on the toughest issues. In the White House, he was spokesperson not only for the President but for the White House Counsel and Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.
*LaBolt has had several other high profile assignments, including serving as the spokesman for the successful efforts to confirm Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
He'll start later this month.
More on Valencia:
Anna Valencia is an Illinois native, born and raised in Metro East. She graduated
from U of I. She started her career with the Virginia 2007 coordinated campaign
then moved on to help out Bill Foster's special election field staff in March
2009. After that she went on to Michigan's 9th congressional district to run the
field operations outside of Detroit to help now Congressman Gary Peters. Finally
returning to Illinois to run the field operations for Congressman Mike Quigley
in the 5th Congressional District Special Election. She is now the Field
Director for the Illinois State Senate Democrats. She will join the campaign as
field director following the midterm elections.