McAuliffe announces appointments to administration

McAullifGov.-elect Terry McAuliffe reappointed Ric Brown to the state’s finance chief Monday and named three veteran Democratic policy advisers to top administration posts.

McAuliffe said at a news conference that Brown will stay on as secretary of finance, the same position he has held under Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell and Democratic former Gov. Tim Kaine, at least through passage of the administration’s first two-year budget.

“I told the governor-elect I thought I could do it as well as the guy who currently has the job,” Brown told reporters.

Other appointments announced by McAuliffe were Paul Reagan, chief of staff; Suzette Denslow, deputy chief of staff; and Levar Stoney, secretary of the commonwealth. It’s the first batch of appointments by the Democrat since his Nov. 6 victory over Republican Ken Cuccinelli.

“These four leaders represent decades of serving Virginia with passion, professionalism and pragmatism, and I am pleased that they will serve in my administration,” McAuliffe said.

McAuliffe will be the 12th governor – six from each party – that Brown has worked for in a state government career spanning more than four decades. He said the job of helping Virginia’s chief executive craft a budget and shepherd it through the General Assembly is “a part of me.”

Brown “has been a steady hand at a time of great uncertainty in our commonwealth,” McAuliffe said. He has helped steer Virginia government through two major recessions, first as a top official in the Department of Planning and Budget under then-Gov. L. Douglas Wilder in the late 1980s and then under Kaine.

McAuliffe said he had both McDonnell and Wilder call Brown and encourage him to stay.

Reagan has worked for several Virginia elected officials, both in Richmond and on Capitol Hill. He was communications director for former Gov. Mark Warner and most recently served as U.S. Sen. Jim Webb’s chief of staff.

Denslow is chief of staff for Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones. She previously served as a deputy education secretary under Wilder and as legislative director for Warner and Kaine.

Stoney is the former executive director of the state Democratic Party and was McAuliffe’s deputy campaign manager. In 2009, he directed the unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Creigh Deeds, who defeated McAuliffe in a primary.