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Brewer spokesman Benson leaving Ninth Floor

Matthew Benson

After two and a half eventful years on the Ninth Floor, communications director Matthew Benson is leaving Gov. Jan Brewer’s administration.

The Governor’s Office today announced that Benson’s last day with the administration will be July 19. He will join the lobbying and consulting firm Veridus as the head of its new communications division.

In a written statement, Brewer called Benson a “talented communicator with keen political insight.”

“It is with mixed emotions that I make this announcement, because Matthew has been a valued member of my team and has played a critical role in reaching the public and helping tell the story of my administration over these last few years,” Brewer said in a press release. “While I will miss him among my senior staff, I know he looks forward to devoting more time to his young family, and I wish him all the best.”

Andrew Wilder, who served as communications director for former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl and for Jeff Flake during his successful senatorial campaign in 2012, will replace Benson as Brewer’s chief spokesman. Wilder has been the spokesman for the Arizona Department of Corrections since April.

“With more than a decade worth of high-level communications experience – including service as spokesman for United States Senator Jon Kyl – Andrew is a welcome addition to my senior staff,” Brewer said. “His extensive background in media relations and strategic messaging, coupled with a deep familiarity with government and policy, will be a tremendous asset to my administration and the public.”

Benson said he will join Veridus in mid-August.

With the 2013 legislative session following Brewer’s historic success in getting her Medicaid expansion plan passed, Benson said the timing of his departure is ideal.

“It just feels like a perfect time to go,” he said. “I couldn’t be prouder of the governor and what she’s accomplished. These last two-and-a-half years have been an honor.”

Benson left The Arizona Republic, where he covered the Governor’s Office, in early 2010 to serve as Secretary of State Ken Bennett’s communications director. A year later, he left Bennett’s Office to join the Brewer administration.

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