Corbett names former state representative as legislative liaison

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HARRISBURG -- Gov. Tom Corbett made a second high-level staffing announcement on Tuesday, naming a new liaison to the General Assembly after saying Monday that his longtime spokesman will depart the administration.

In a statement from his office, Mr. Corbett named Katie True, a Republican former state representative from Lancaster, his secretary of legislative affairs. The governor's executive deputy secretary of legislative affairs, Andrew Ritter, who had been tapped to serve as acting secretary, submitted a letter of resignation.

The change at the top of the governor's legislative operation came one day after the announcement that communications director Kevin Harley will depart for a job at Quantum Communications, a Harrisburg public relations firm.

After working for Mr. Corbett in 1995 and 1996, when the governor first served as attorney general, Mr. Harley was press secretary for Mr. Corbett's campaign for attorney general in 2004 and his communications director in that office. He continued as communications director for Mr. Corbett's gubernatorial campaign and in the governor's office.

Mr. Harley said Tuesday that he has a contract lined up to work for Mr. Corbett's re-election campaign but will not serve as press secretary.

"I plan on helping to get Tom Corbett re-elected," he said. "I've worked for him directly for a long time, and now I'll be able to help him in a different role."

After a spring legislative session that saw none of Mr. Corbett major legislative policy proposals become law -- and with poll numbers low enough to attract national attention -- Mr. Corbett in July replaced his chief of staff, Stephen Aichele, with Leslie Gromis Baker, a highly regarded adviser to former Gov. Tom Ridge. She had been serving as the state's liaison with the federal government.

The governor at that time also said his legislative secretary, Christopher Carusone, would leave to become a partner in the Harrisburg office of Conrad O'Brien, a Philadelphia-based law firm.

Ms. True, 72, served eight terms in the House of Representatives, concluding in 2010. In 2000, she lost a bid for auditor general to Bob Casey, now the state's Democratic U.S. senator. Mr. Corbett in 2011 appointed her commissioner of the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs at the Department of State, where she has been responsible for professional and occupational hearing boards.

"Katie True is an experienced advocate for Pennsylvania's working families," Mr. Corbett said in the statement. "We look forward to having her on the team as we work to enact our legislative agenda in the fall and beyond."

Steve Miskin, a spokesman for House Republicans, said Ms. True's experience serving as a legislator would be a "tremendous asset" in her new role. He described her manner as straightforward.

"You always know where you stand with her," he said. "She's very upfront and forward and never leaves a doubt about where someone stands."

Mr. Ritter said he had chosen to leave his position and looked forward to new challenges. His resignation takes effect Sept. 13.

breaking - state

Karen Langley: klangley@post-gazette.com or 717-787-2141. First Published August 13, 2013 4:30 PM


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