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Shumlin Aide Leaves Post For Mass. Campaign

One of Governor Peter Shumlin’s youngest staffers is hitting the road next week, leaving Montpelier for the rough and tumble world of Massachusetts politics.

Leigh Appleby, who has served as the Governor’s Director of Digital Media and Communications since January of 2011, is leaving the office to serve as Press Secretary on the gubernatorial campaign of Don Berwick.

Berwick, a longtime pediatrician, got a taste of government when President Barack Obama appointed him as administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

For 26-year-old Appleby, the new gig is a step up in the world of political communications.

"I think I was just looking to get back into campaigns,” he said. “I really love doing communications. It's really what drives me."

It’s been a while since Appleby was on the campaign trail. After growing up in Norwich, he left Vermont to attend the Culinary Institute of America in New York state. After graduation, he scored a job with New York Congressman Scott Murphy’s reelection campaign.  Shortly after Murphy’s loss to Republican Chris Gibson, Appleby got an offer from Montpelier, where he’s been since.

“This job has solidified my choice to go in this professional direction,” Appleby said of the Shumlin gig. But for a young political operative, the nationally-scrutinized Massachusetts political scene offers greater prospects than the Green Mountain State.

"I wanted to broaden my horizons and be a press secretary,” he said.

Appleby’s last day in the Governor’s office will be Wednesday, Oct. 9 and then he’ll head south for his first day the very next day working with the Berwick campaign in Cambridge, Mass.

Shumlin’s office has not yet hired a replacement for the young spokesman, and he says existing staff will share his duties in the short term.

“I’m certainly very proud to have worked for the Governor for the last three years,” he said. “I think for me, it was just time to move on.”

Taylor was VPR's digital reporter from 2013 until 2017. After growing up in Vermont, he graduated with at BA in Journalism from Northeastern University in 2013.
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