Jan 6, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Kamala Harris picks new comms director

Jamal Simmons speaks onstage at Ad Week 2016. Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images for Advertising Week New York

Vice President Kamala Harris will select Jamal Simmons, a top Democratic Party operative and communications aide, to serve as her new communications director after Ashley Etienne's departure last year, a WH official confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: Simmons is a respected Dem player and allies say that his relationships with the West Wing, journalists and leaders throughout the party will help him shape Harris' long-term goals and legacy. The news was first reported by The Hill.

The backdrop: Harris has faced intense scrutiny throughout her time as VP, which has picked up as her office has gone through several recent staff changes.

  • In addition to Etienne, Harris' press secretary Symone Sanders also left within the first year.
  • This week, Peter Velz — Harris’ director of press operations, announced he was leaving to join the State Department.
  • Another senior Harris aide, Vincent Evans, is leaving to become executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus, Bloomberg reported.

Go deeper: Harris' team is also searching for a Hispanic outreach director, Axios' Hans Nichols scooped, in an effort to shore up her political standing among various Democratic Party factions.

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