Shumlin Chief of Staff Bill Lofy Stepping Down for DGA Gig | Off Message

Shumlin Chief of Staff Bill Lofy Stepping Down for DGA Gig

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With Gov. Peter Shumlin all but assured to take over the Democratic Governors Association next year, one of his top lieutenants will be leaving state government to help guide his work at the D.C.-based organization.

Bill Lofy, the governor's chief of staff, will step down from that role in January — leaving the 5th floor of the Pavilion to return to national politics. He says he's accepted a new gig at the DGA, where he'll support the party apparatus' goal of electing Democratic governors throughout the country.

"It's been a highlight of my career and it's been a great honor to work for the state of Vermont," Lofy says. "I'm looking forward to continuing to work for Gov. Shumlin in a different capacity."

Lofy's is the administration's first confirmed high-level departure, though Shumlin is expected to announce more staff transitions — including Lofy's successor — later Tuesday at a Statehouse press conference. Last week, Shumlin was elected to a second two-year term.

For Lofy, the new job is a return, of sorts, to a role he played prior to joining the Shumlin administration. During the 2008 and 2010 election cycles, he served as deputy political director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which works to elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate. Prior to that, Lofy was a senior adviser to the late progressive senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, about whom he wrote a biography in 2005.

"I think my experience working for the DSCC and having a background in national politics and party committee politics will help," he says. "I think I'm in a position to maximize the resources [the DGA] has to get as many Democrats elected to statehouses as possible in 2014."

Though his precise portfolio isn't yet clear, Lofy says he expects to have a hand in the DGA's work recruiting gubernatorial candidates, setting up their campaigns and raising money for the party committee. In 2013, Virginia and New Jersey are expected to host hot gubernatorial campaigns; in 2014, a full 36 gubernatorial seats will be up for grabs.

Lofy says his job isn't contingent upon Shumlin winning the chairmanship of the DGA, though that outcome is expected. Democratic governors will gather in Los Angeles December 3 and 4 to formally elect their next leader. The group's current head, Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland, is not seeking reelection to the post, and Shumlin is the only announced candidate.

Though the DGA's professional staff is based in D.C., Lofy does not plan to relocate to the Beltway. The Jericho resident worked remotely from Vermont while at the DSCC and plans to do the same in his new role.

"One of the great advantages of this is I'll still be in Vermont. I'll still be close to what's going on in Montpelier," he says. "It makes a lot of sense to me. I love living here and working here and I have no intention of leaving Vermont."

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