Scott’s longtime spokesman heads to Fla GOPby John Kennedy | September 4th, 2012
One of Gov. Rick Scott’s longest-serving advisers — communications chief Brian Burgess — is heading across town to the Florida Republican Party.
Burgess will be replaced by Melissa Sellers, a former spokeswoman for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Scott and Burgess go way back — working together on Conservatives for Patients Rights, the political committee the governor set up as a private citizen to work unsuccessfully on derailing the Affordable Care Act. Burgess was by Scott’s side as the former health care executive became a longshot candidate for governor in Florida in 2010.
After Scott spent $72 million of his own money pursuing his first elected office, Burgess emerged as prime spokesman for the governor.
The Burgess move to the party has been talked of for months.
But while marking the end of an era — albeit brief — on the Capitol’s first floor, it also likely carries some larger symbolism, as well. Scott and the party are now effectively one as he heads toward a 2014 re-election campaign.
Scott acknowledged as much in his parting comments about Burgess.
“From the very beginning, Brian has been by my side as a strategic and political adviser, a trusted aide, and loyal member of my team,” Scott said. “His strong work ethic, strategic advice and leadership will be missed inside the administration, but he isn’t going far. In his new role, he will continue to help tell the story to Floridians and the nation about what we’re accomplishing every day.”
For her part, Sellers already began spinning in Florida last week — directing communication for regional media at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Before that, she was Jindal’s press secretary during his gubernatorial campaign and played the same role in the governor’s office – leaving last December.
Seller’s move across the Gulf shouldn’t be that much of a scenery change. After all, she was around Jindal for a couple hurricanes, the BP oil spill in 2010, and several budget shortfalls, according to Scott’s announcement on her hiring.
Scott welcomed her arrival. “We have an ambitious agenda to create more jobs and opportunity for the hard working people of Florida and while we have made important progress already, there is a lot of work still ahead of us,” Scott said.