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Governor Kathy Hochul announces her new administration appointments

Governor Kathy Hochul has announced her new administration appointments as she attempts to reconstruct Albany’s culture.

Jeff Lewis has been appointed Chief of Staff to the Governor. Prior to joining the Governor’s Office, Mr. Lewis served in the Office of then-Lieutenant Governor Hochul for more than six years, first as Director of External Affairs and then as Chief of Staff. Mr. Lewis has also served as Finance Director at Recchia for Congress (NY-11) and in staff roles on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he worked for then-Representative Hochul (NY-26). His political career began with an internship in the Office of then-Erie County Clerk Hochul. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in politics from New York University.

Linda Sun has been appointed Deputy Chief of Staff. Ms. Sun previously served as Deputy Superintendent for Intergovernmental Affairs & Chief Diversity Officer at the NYS Department of Financial Services. She has also served as Deputy Chief Diversity Officer and Director of Asian American Affairs for the NYS Executive Chamber, Director of External Affairs for Global NY at Empire State Development and Chief of Staff to NYS Assemblymember Grace Meng. Ms. Sun is the highest appointed Asian American in the administration and a first generation immigrant. She holds a Master’s degree from Teachers College at Columbia University and a B.A. from Barnard College at Columbia University.

Melissa Bochenski has been appointed as Deputy Chief of Staff. She previously served as then-Lieutenant Governor Hochul’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Prior to joining New York State, she worked as a Strategic Relations Analyst at M&T Bank. From 2011-2013, she served as an Executive Assistant and Office Manager to then-Representative Hochul (NY-26). Ms. Bochenski holds a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Canisius College.

Julissa Gutierrez was appointed in early 2020 as Chief Diversity Officer for the State of New York and will continue to serve in this role under the Hochul administration. As Chief Diversity Officer, Ms. Gutierrez supports the Governor’s programs and initiatives to increase diversity within the State’s workforce and has already increased civic, economic and social empowerment in a variety of communities. In May 2021, Ms. Gutierrez was recognized by City & State New York where she was named #1 on their first MWBE Power 50 List. Ms. Gutierrez previously served as Deputy Director of Constituency Affairs in the Governor’s office, in a number of roles at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund and as Special Assistant to the Commissioner at the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development. Ms. Gutierrez is a Board Member of the New Immigrants Community Empowerment, a Trustee for the Queens Public Library and a Board Member of the Queens Public Library Foundation. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in International Relations with a Minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Delaware.

Shirley Paul has been appointed Senior Advisor to the Governor. Prior to joining the Governor’s office, she served as Assistant Director for Legislative Affairs at SUNY Systems Administration. Ms. Paul has worked in state government in various roles, including working with then-Lieutenant Governor Hochul as Senior Advisor and Counsel and as a Law Clerk in the NYS Court System. Ms. Paul started her career in public service in then Senator Joseph R. Biden’s office. She is a member of several civic associations and professional organizations and was featured by City & State in their 2019 Class of Albany 40 Under 40 as a rising star in state government. Ms. Paul is a first generation Brooklynite of Haitian decent. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Delaware State University, a Master’s degree in Urban Planning and Administration from Brooklyn College and a Juris Doctorate from New York Law School.

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Sinéad Doherty has been appointed Deputy Secretary for Executive Operations. Prior to joining the Governor’s office, she served as Director of Operations for the California based children’s non-profit, Good Tidings Foundation. Ms. Doherty worked on the Biden for America presidential campaign, supporting surrogate scheduling and advance in Iowa, after serving as the National Trips Director for the Amy For America campaign. She previously worked for then-Lieutenant Governor Hochul as Director of Operations, served as Confidential Assistant to then US Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, and was Deputy Director of Advance for then House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Boston University.

Padma Seemangal has been appointed Deputy Secretary for Policy Operations. Ms. Seemangal previously served as Director of Communications and Public Affairs at Global Strategy Group and as a Senior Advisor for then-Lieutenant Governor Hochul through the Empire State Fellows Program. She also served as Program and Communications Manager for Women Creating Change and Acting Executive Director of the Indo-Caribbean Alliance, Inc. She has served as a policy consultant for the Public Advocate for the City of New York and a team consultant for New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. She holds a B.A. in English Literature Studies and Government from St. Lawrence University and a Master’s degree in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from The Milano School for International Affairs at the New School.

Hazel Crampton-Hays has been appointed Press Secretary. Ms. Crampton-Hays most recently served as Press Secretary to New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. Previously, she served in the Governor’s Press Office, including as First Deputy Press Secretary. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Politics and Religion from Oberlin College.

Jelanie DeShong has been appointed Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs. Mr. DeShong most recently served as Director of Government Relations for State University of New York Downstate Health Sciences University and previously as Director of Community Engagement for then-Lieutenant Governor Hochul. Mr. DeShong has spent almost a decade in senior roles at the state and local levels of government. Mr. DeShong is a first-generation Brooklynite of Grenadian heritage. He is a product of the City’s public school system. Mr. DeShong is an active member of his community and lives in Flatbush, Brooklyn where he grew up.

Devan Cayea has been appointed Director of Strategic Planning and Scheduling. Prior to joining the administration, Mr. Cayea recently served on the transition team and in the office of Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA), is a former senior advisor and Director of National Strategic Planning for the Amy for America presidential campaign, and was the Director of Operations in Senator Klobuchar’s Capitol Hill office. He also served on the Biden for America presidential campaign, coordinating national travel for Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff during the 2020 cycle. Mr. Cayeabegan his career as the Deputy Director of Scheduling and Advance for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Mr. Cayea holds a Bachelor’s degree from American University.

Fohat Aird-Bombo has been appointed Director of Advance. Mr. Aird-Bombo previously served in the Office of then-Lieutenant Governor Hochul where he was the Director of Advance and Special Events. Mr. Aird-Bombo worked on the 2020 presidential campaign for Mike Bloomberg as the New York Regional Operations Director. His previous positions also included serving as Senior Advance Lead for the Speakers of the New York City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Corey Johnson.Prior to that, he spent time working in the New York Public School system as the Director of Operations. Mr. Aird-Bombo, who was born in the Bronx and raised in Brooklyn returned to the Bronx in 2018 to purchase his first home with his husband, Andy.