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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Hillary Clinton fills out top Florida staff

Hillary Clinton's campaign named its senior staff for Florida.

Simone L. Ward - State Director

Simone Ward recently served as National Political Director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), working to recruit and advise U.S. Senate candidates, including the highly competitive Florida senate race. She is the former campaign manager for Natalie Tennant's Senate campaign in West Virginia, as well as Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski's re-election in 2010. She is a 10-year political veteran of the DNC, serving in several positions over three presidential cycles as National African American Outreach Director as well as National Constituency Director. She has also served as Vice President of Public Affairs at Planned Parenthood and as a political advisor at EMILY's List, tracking federal campaigns in FL, NC, OH, MO, and PA. She started her career in politics in the Clinton White House.

Reggie Cardozo - Deputy State Director

Reggie recently left his position in the Obama Administration as Deputy Chief of Staff of the U.S. General Services Administration to return home to Florida. He joined GSA in July of 2013 as the White House Liaison. Prior to joining GSA, Cardozo was the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the Governor of Puerto Rico in Washington, DC and previously served on the 2013 Presidential Inauguration Committee where he was a Director in the Office of Ticketing and Credentialing. In 2012, Reggie served as Florida Political Director for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. His Florida politics experience ranges from the 2004 cycle when he worked for the Florida Democratic Party in support of Senator John Kerry's presidential campaign to the 2006 and 2010 cycles where he ran statewide races to advising the Crist campaign during the 2014 cycle.

 

Mahen Gunaratna - Communications Director

Mahen Gunaratna will serve as Florida Communications Director. Gunaratna recently led communications on Hillary Clinton’s successful Connecticut primary campaign and earlier on her Florida primary campaign, where she won by more than 30 points. Prior to that, he served as a top communications aide to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in City Hall and on his mayoral campaign. In 2012, he led New Mexico and Arizona communications for President Obama’s re-election campaign. He has also worked for several members of Congress from Florida, including serving on former Congressman Kendrick Meek's 2010 U.S. Senate campaign and as Communications Director for Congresswoman Frederica Wilson. He is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Valentina Pereda - Press Secretary

Valentina Pereda most recently served as Acting Director and Deputy Director for Hispanic Media at the White House, where she oversaw and supported President Obama's bilingual domestic and international messaging efforts. Prior to that, she was Special Advisor for Communications and Stakeholder Engagement for Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet at the U.S. Small Business Administration. Valentina also served as Communications Director for the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and in numerous positions at the Democratic National Committee, including as Deputy Director of the Futuro Fund. The daughter of a former undocumented, single mother, Valentina's career mission has been shaped by her upbringing around hardworking immigrants who risked it all to come to the U.S. and contribute to this great nation. She is a graduate of George Washington University.

Keenan Austin - Political Director

Keenan Austin will serve as Florida Political Director. Since 2015, she has served as Chief of Staff to DC Councilmember David Grosso. Prior to that, she served for four years as Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, managing a portfolio including political outreach, stakeholder engagement, constituent services, and legislation. Recognized for her leadership on progressive issues, Keenan is an alum of the New Leaders Council. In 2010, she managed the Congresswoman's first election to Congress, overseeing fundraising, scheduling, outreach, voter contact and mobilization, press, budget, and staff. A proud Rattler, Keenan received her Bachelor's degree and MBA from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Stephen Cummings - Digital Director

Stephen Cummings is a sometimes artist, designer, web developer, and organizer. His political work has taken him from President Obama's 2012 campaign in his hometown of Reno, NV, to advocating for immigration reform, climate change action, and affordable health care with Organizing for Action in Texas, to former governor Charlie Crist's 2014 gubernatorial campaign, where he served as deputy digital director. No stranger to the state of Florida, he is also an alumnus of Waterford Elementary in Orlando.

Senior Staff - Democratic Coordinated Campaign:

Scott Arceneaux - Senior Advisor

Scott Arceneaux has been the Executive Director of the Florida Democratic Party since 2009, working to elect Democrats at every level of government across the state, and was previously Executive Director of the Louisiana Democratic Party from 2001 to 2004. Arceneaux has worked on Democratic campaigns at every level, from city council to the U.S. Senate, and served in 2007 as the National Political Director for Chris Dodd’s presidential campaign. In Louisiana, Arceneaux oversaw the efforts to successfully re-elect Senator Mary Landrieu in 2002 and elect Governor Kathleen Blanco in 2003, as well as recently working with the DGA on John Bel Edwards' successful 2015 gubernatorial campaign. A Louisiana native, Arceneaux is a graduate of Washington & Lee University and Tulane University School of Law.

Lauren Brainerd - Coordinated Campaign Director

Lauren recently worked for Hillary Clinton's campaign in three caucus states. She was the Regional Organizing Director for Eastern Iowa and the State Director in Kansas and Idaho. Before that, Lauren was the Field Director in North Carolina for the 2014 Coordinated Campaign working to re-elect Senator Kay Hagan. Lauren has worked on both President Obama's presidential campaigns, mostly recently as a Regional Field Director in Tampa. In 2013, she served as a Regional Field Director in Loudoun and Prince William Counties for Terry McAuliffe's gubernatorial campaign.

Carl Walz - Coordinated Campaign Organizing Director

Carl recently worked as the Organizing Director for the Clinton campaign in South Carolina. Prior to that, Carl served as the South Regional Field Director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). In that position, he oversaw field programs in key congressional races stretching from Virginia to Florida, and all the way west to Texas. In additional to candidate campaigns, Carl has worked for several issue campaigns across the country that organized around progressive priorities such as affordable housing and environmental protection.

Brendon Mills - Data Director

Brendon is originally from Boston, MA and, after spending five years in the Marine Corps, worked as a management consultant with Accenture in Washington, DC. He worked primarily with government and nonprofit clients on strategy and analytics engagements focused on improving outcomes. He holds degrees from the United States Naval Academy and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in Political Science and Public Policy, respectively. Brendon is an avid rower, having been both an athlete and coach at the high school and collegiate levels.

Vincent Fry - Operations Director

Vincent recently served as a Senior Account Executive at Catalist, a data utility powering the progressive community. Previously, he served in several positions at the Democratic National Committee, including Director of Democrats Abroad and Director of the Voting Rights Institute. Vincent previously served as Associate Director of Political Affairs in the Clinton-Gore White House. He holds a law degree from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree from Morehouse College.

Zach Learner - Voter Protection Director

Zach Learner will serve as Voter Protection Director. Learner worked on both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns, as well as the 2014 Florida gubernatorial race. He previously worked for State Senator Eleanor Sobel and State Representative Kristin Jacobs. Learner is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law and a member of the Florida bar.

[Last modified: Friday, June 3, 2016 9:45am]

    

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