Five more politicos and officials with Massachusetts ties are joining the Obama White House.
Macon Phillips, who came out of Blue State Digital -- the Boston start-up that created Obama's unprecedented online operation during the campaign -- will be director of new media after playing a similar role during the campaign.
Amy Brundage, a former press aide to Senator John F. Kerry, a Rockport native, and Holy Cross grad, will be regional communications director.
And Gannet Tseggai, a former deputy press secretary to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, will also be a regional communications manager.
"Each of these individuals brings deep expertise in their fields, and a strong commitment to public service. I am confident in their abilities to fill these roles with distinction, and I welcome them to our team as we begin the work of bringing the change that the American people need in these troubled times,” Obama said in a statement.
Late this afternoon, the White House also named April Boyd, former national press secretary for Kerry, as its nominee for assistant secretary for legislative and intergovernmental affairs at the Department of Commerce.
Also late today, the White House nominated Kathleen A. Merrigan, a professor at Tufts University, to be deputy agriculture secretary.
Their mini biographies, provided by the White House, are below.
Macon Phillips, Director of New Media
Since the election, Phillips has served as Director of New Media for the Presidential Transition Team, developing Change.gov and overseeing the transition's overall online communications. Prior to that, he served as the Deputy Director of New Media for Obama for America, managing the day to day operations of the campaign's online program. Before the campaign, Macon led Blue State Digital's strategy practice, working with clients like the Democratic National Committee and Senator Ted Kennedy. A native of Huntsville, Alabama, Phillips is a graduate of Duke University and lives with his fiancée in Washington, DC.
Amy Brundage, Regional Communications Director
Brundage most recently served as a spokesperson for the Obama-Biden Transition Team and as the Midwest Communications Director in the Chicago headquarters for Obama’s presidential campaign. Prior to the campaign, she served as then-Senator Obama’s Press Secretary in his Washington, DC office. Before joining the Obama team, Brundage was Senator John Kerry’s National Press Secretary. She also served as the Communications Director for Kerry’s political action committee in 2006. Brundage worked in the scheduling department in the national headquarters during Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, and joined Kerry’s Senate staff in early 2005. A native of Rockport, Massachusetts, Brundage graduated with a B.A. in both English and Political Science from the College of the Holy Cross.
Gannet Tseggai, Regional Communications Director
Tseggai started on Obama’s presidential campaign as the Iowa Deputy Press Secretary in 2007 and worked in five states during the primary. During the general election, she served as the Northeast Communications Director in the Chicago headquarters. Before joining the Obama campaign, Tseggai served as Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s Deputy Press Secretary from 2005 to 2007. Prior to her work for Senator Kennedy, Tseggai spent the 2004 election cycle working for Missouri Governor Bob Holden’s re-election campaign and John Kerry’s Presidential Campaign in Missouri and Ohio. Tseggai is a Rolla, Missouri native and graduated with a B.A. in both Political Science and Communications from the University of Missouri.
April Boyd, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Commerce
For the past 2 1/2 years, Boyd served as Chief of Staff to Rep. Ellen Tauscher from California where she had also served as her Communications Director from 2001 to 2004. As Tauscher's Chief of Staff, Boyd worked extensively with the House New Democrat Coalition, which Tauscher chairs. Boyd also served as Senator John Kerry's National Press Secretary for two years. In 2000 April Boyd was Press Officer and Special Assistant in the U.S. Department of Energy and before that worked as Media Liaison for the U.S. General Services Administration.
Kathleen A. Merrigan, Nominee for Deputy Secretary of the Department of Agriculture
Merrigan is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment MS and PhD Program at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, Boston MA. Prior to joining the Friedman School, Merrigan held a variety of policymaking jobs at the state, federal, and international level. From 1999 to 2001, she was Administrator of Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. From 1994 to 1999, she worked at the Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture, and served as an expert consultant at the Food Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. From 1987 to 1992 she was a staff member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, working for Chairman Patrick Leahy. From 1986 to 1987, Merrigan worked in the regulatory division of the Texas Department of Agriculture and from 1982 to 1985, she worked for Congressman John Olver during his tenure in the Massachusetts State Senate. Merrigan holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in environmental planning and policy, a Master of Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and a B.A. in Political Science and English from Williams College.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.