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Jill Biden selects Padilla aide as new press secretary

First lady Jill Biden has selected Vanessa Valdivia, currently communications director for Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), as her new press secretary.  

The first lady’s office announced Thursday that Valdivia would replace Michael LaRosa, who departed as press secretary at the end of July. Valdivia is expected to assume the position in the coming weeks, though the first lady’s office did not offer an exact start date.

Valdivia has served as communications director for Padilla since he entered the Senate in 2021, filling the seat vacated by Vice President Harris. She also worked on several presidential and Senate campaigns before that, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid. 

“Vanessa’s combination of strategic communications skills, expertise, and experience, as well as her commitment to public service, will make her a tremendous addition to our team,” the first lady’s communications director, Elizabeth Alexander, said in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming her in the coming weeks.”  

Valdivia is also married to Chris Meagher, a deputy press secretary in the West Wing.  

Her move will fill an important role on the first lady’s communications team that has stood empty since the end of July when LaRosa, a longtime Jill Biden spokesman, left the East Wing for a job at public affairs firm Hamilton Place Strategies.

Other White House officials praised the announcement Thursday.

“This is such great news!” tweeted White House director of political strategy and outreach Emmy Ruiz, who noted she has worked with Valdivia in the past. “I can’t wait to see her shine in this new role.”  

The first lady is making a handful of domestic trips in the coming days, including delivering remarks at the Flight 93 National Memorial Observance in Shanksville, Pa., on Sunday to honor the victims killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.  

The West Wing has experienced some churn in the communications shop since Karine Jean-Pierre took over for Jen Psaki as press secretary. White House communications director Kate Bedingfield had initially planned to depart in July but changed her mind and decided to stay on later that month.

Source: The Hill

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