Governor Kitzhaber Announces New Senior Staff

Governor Kitzhaber today announced several key appointments to senior positions in his office. Nkenge Harmon Johnson has been appointed Communications Director, Daniel Ledezma will serve as Education Policy Advisor with a focus on equity, and Sean Kolmer will return to the Governor’s Office as the interim Health Care Policy Advisor.

“We have made a commitment to improve education, health care, and overall prosperity for all Oregonians, in every corner of the state,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “I am pleased to bring on experienced, knowledgeable team members who offer the kind of leadership and rich expertise we need to meet our goals to improve the lives of Oregonians. I look forward to their contributions.”

A native Oregonian raised in Salem and Portland, Ms. Harmon Johnson received her juris doctorate from Howard University and her bachelor of science degree in business administration from Florida A & M University. Her professional background includes serving as a Deputy Assistant United States Trade Representative for the Obama Administration, Communications Director for U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, and Director of Outreach Communications for Senator Harry Reid and the Senate Democratic Steering & Outreach Committee. She is a small business owner, and most recently has been practicing law for Harmon Johnson LLC and as a staff attorney for Stoll Berne. She will start her new position on January 9.

Ms. Ledezma comes to the Governor’s Office from the Portland Housing Bureau, where she was Director of Equity, Policy, and Communications. Prior to that, she served as Policy Director for City of Portland Commissioner Nick Fish, held numerous positions at the Bureau of Housing Community Development, and was Director of the Up On Top After School Program and a high school teacher. Raised in Colorado, her education background includes a bachelor of arts in government from the University of Notre Dame and coursework at Portland State University in the urban and regional planning graduate program. She will begin her new position on January 13.

Mr. Kolmer previously advised the Governor on health care and returns to the role after serving as Deputy Chief of Policy and Programs for the Oregon Health Authority. He also serves as the Chair of the Public Employees’ Benefit Board and was formerly deputy administrator of the Office for Oregon Health Policy and Research. Kolmer received his bachelor’s in exercise science from Linfield College and his master’s in public health from Portland State University. He will start his new position on January 2.
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