November 19th, 2013 | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: Legislature, Politics

High-Level Staff Changes on Kitzhaber's Team

Governor Names Mike Bonetto Chief of Staff

kitzGov. John Kitzhaber

Although Gov. John Kitzhaber has reported raising $240,000 this year, he still has not yet announced whether he'll run for an unprecedented (in Oregon) fourth term.

But WW has learned that key staffers are not waiting for Kitzhaber to announce his decision before they make their own plans.

Kitzhaber's chief of staff, Curtis Robinhold, will depart Jan. 1 to become deputy executive director at the Port of Portland. Mike Bonetto, currently Kitzhaber's health-care adviser, will replace Robinhold.

Tim Raphael, Kitzhaber's spokesman, will leave Dec.1 to take over the Oregon office of Strategies 360, a Seattle-based lobbying firm that has offices in 10 western states and Washington, D.C.

That leaves Kitzhaber with major holes to fill ahead of the February legislative session: He will have to replace Bonetto on health-care at a time when Cover Oregon, the state's health insurance exchange is failing. He'll have to find an experienced spokesman. And he'll have to find an education adviser to replace Ben Cannon, who previously moved up to the Higher Education Coordinating Committee. 

Kitzhaber's office confirmed the moves but declined to comment further.

 
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