Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christie Announces Key Appointments

New Jersey Governor-Elect Chris Christie announced today the first in a series of key appointments for the Christie-Guadagno Administration.
Christie named Rich Bagger as the incoming Chief of Staff, Bill Stepien as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Jeff Chiesa as Chief Counsel to the Governor and Kevin O’Dowd as Deputy Chief Counsel to the Governor.
Governor-Elect Chris Christie said, “There is no doubt that we have a great deal of work ahead of us when our state is facing an ever increasing deficit and an unemployment rate we most defeat. I am confident that with the team I am beginning to assemble we are going to be able to do the work the people of New Jersey sent us to Trenton to do.
“Rich Bagger brings a wealth of outside experience, knowledge, respect from both sides of the aisle, and a shared belief that we must run Trenton differently if we’re going to get results. Rich innately knows that we have to throw out the old way of doing things if we’re going to be able to successfully execute our vision.”
As incoming Chief of Staff to the Governor, Rich Bagger stated, “I am honored to join Governor-Elect Christie and Lt-Governor-Elect Guadagno and help build a team that is ready to tackle the many challenges we currently face. We will assemble a team that is ready and willing to make the changes needed and tackle the tough issues head-on in order to get the results New Jersey desperately needs.”

Rich Bagger, Chief of Staff to the Governor

Rich Bagger is currently Senior Vice President, Worldwide Public Affairs for Pfizer. He has served in a series of corporate affairs roles since joining Pfizer in 1993. Earlier in his career, Rich was Assistant General Counsel of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey and practiced law with McCarter & English.

His record of public service includes ten years in the New Jersey General Assembly, where he was Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and was elected by his colleagues to be Majority Conference Leader. In 2001, he was elected to the New Jersey Senate and served there until 2003. Before his election to the legislature, he was a Councilman and Mayor of Westfield, New Jersey.

Rich serves on the Board of Trustees of British American Business, the Business Council of New York State, the Healthcare Institute of New Jersey, Kean University, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the United Hospital Fund and the United States Chamber of Commerce.

He received an A.B. degree from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a J.D. degree from Rutgers University Law School.

Bill Stepien, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor

Bill Stepien most recently served as Campaign Manager for Governor-Elect Chris Christie and Lieutenant Governor-Elect Kim Guadagno. Prior to 2009, he worked as National Field Director and Regional Campaign Manager for John McCain’s presidential campaign. Earlier in the 2008 presidential campaign cycle, Stepien was former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s National Field Director.

Stepien’s vast experience in both national and state politics includes serving as the Republican National Committee’s 72-Hour Director and as President George W. Bush’s New Hampshire Political Director in his 2004 re-election campaign. He also successfully managed Bill Baroni’s campaign for the General Assembly in 2003 and worked in the legislative office of State Senator Anthony Bucco.

A New Jersey native, Stepien received his B.A. from Rutgers University.

Jeff Chiesa, Chief Counsel to the Governor

Jeff Chiesa is currently a partner in the litigation department at Wolff & Samson. Prior to joining Wolff & Samson, Jeff worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of New Jersey from 2002 - 2009, last serving as the executive assistant U.S. attorney. He also served as counsel to the U.S. attorney and as the chief of the Public Protection Unit.

Jeff was involved in all aspects of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including the management of the Criminal, Civil, Appeals and Special Prosecutions Divisions. As a unit chief, he supervised a group of assistant U.S. attorneys primarily responsible for the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases involving bank robbery, child pornography, human trafficking and identity theft.

Chiesa received his B.A. at the University of Notre Dame and his J.D. at Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law.

Kevin O’Dowd, Deputy Chief Counsel to the Governor

Kevin O’Dowd currently serves as the Chief of the Securities and Healthcare Fraud Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. Over the course of the last 7 years as an Assistant United States Attorney, Mr. O’Dowd has prosecuted various crimes ranging from complex healthcare, securities and financial fraud matters to international child pornography distribution, cyber and narcotics prosecutions.

Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. O’Dowd spent the previous five years serving as both a Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Jersey and an Assistant Counsel in the New Jersey Office of Counsel to the Governor.

Mr. O’Dowd received his B.A. at The Catholic University of America and his J.D. at St. John’s University School of Law.

A New Jersey native, O’Dowd currently resides in the City of New Brunswick.

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