Page Gonzales, Gov. Jan Brewer’s director of policy, is departing the Ninth Floor to become newly elected Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri’s chief of staff.
Brewer announced on Wednesday that Michael Hunter, her director of legislative affairs, will take Gonzales’ spot as director of policy. Hunter’s chief deputy, Lorna Romero, will replace him as the governor’s chief lobbyist.
“It’s always difficult to see the departure of a talented staff member like Page, but the continued service and sacrifice of advisors such as Michael and Lorna is proof-positive that this team is in good hands,” Brewer said in a press statement. “Michael is one of my most-trusted advisors, and is well-known for his expertise in matters of public finance and taxation. … His background and knowledge of the Legislature will be helpful as he assumes new responsibilities in helping lead my policy agenda. I know he’ll continue to play a critical role in this administration and serve the State of Arizona well.”
The staff changes will officially take effect on Dec. 19.
Gonzales joined Brewer’s staff early in her administration in 2009 as a transportation and local government policy advisor. After serving as deputy director of policy, she was promoted to director in 2011.
“I have mixed emotions about Page’s departure,” Brewer said in the press statement. “On the one hand, I could not be more thrilled for – or proud of – the well-earned reputation she has built as a key member of this administration. On the other hand, it is difficult not to be saddened that the Capitol will lose a well-liked, well-versed and utterly-devoted public servant like Page. I wish her all the best in her new role, and I know she will serve Maricopa County with distinction.”
Hunter, who also advises Brewer on tax policy issues, served as Senate Republicans’ senior policy advisor on budget and finance issues before joining the Governor’s Office in late 2010. Romero served as a lobbyist for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce before joining the Brewer administration in 2011.
“Lorna has quickly become one of my team’s experts in public policy and tax reform,” Brewer said. “She is a talented public servant who takes seriously her responsibility to the State of Arizona, and I know she will excel in this new role as director of legislative affairs.”
The Brewer administration has seen a lot of turnover in recent months. Longtime chief of staff Eileen Klein left the Governor’s Office earlier this month to become Arizona Board of Regents president. Deputy Chief of Staff and Arizona Department of Administration Director Scott Smith replaced Klein, while Kathy Peckardt, Smith’s human resources director at ADOA, took his spot on the Ninth Floor.