Baucus announces new state director; Kaiser moves to consulting firm

2010-02-19T11:45:00Z Baucus announces new state director; Kaiser moves to consulting firmGazette Staff The Billings Gazette
February 19, 2010 11:45 am  • 

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., has named John Lewis as his new state director.

He will replace Barrett Kaiser as his top Montana aide.

Lewis, 31, will be tasked with running the senator’s eight Montana offices, traveling with Baucus while he’s in the state and managing a staff of nearly 20.

Lewis has worked for Baucus since 2002, when he started as a field organizer in Billings on Baucus’ 2002 re-election campaign. Lewis worked in Baucus’ Washington office for five years as a legislative assistant for appropriations. In 2008, Lewis returned to Billings as director of field operations when Baucus sought a sixth term in the Senate. After the successful 2008 campaign, Lewis assumed the role of deputy state director in Helena.

Lewis was born in Billings and grew up in Missoula. He has a bachelor’s in political science from Western Washington University. Lewis will remain in Helena with his wife, Melissa, and his two young children, Kate and Jackson.

Kaiser, after working for Baucus for nearly 11 years, has signed on as a principal and director of western operations for Hilltop Public Solutions, a political consulting firm.

“I extend my heartfelt thanks to Barrett for his many years of excellent service to our state. He’s an amazingly talented guy and I will miss his quick intellect and great sense of humor,” Baucus said. “I welcome John into his new role and have no doubt he will be a great leader of my Montana staff.”

Hilltop Public Solutions provides strategic services to clients nationwide, and its partners and principals have served as senior strategists for Harry Reid, Tom Udall and Project New West among others.

A Denver native, Kaiser started with Baucus in his Washington, D.C., office in 1999, after receiving his bachelor’s in communication studies from the University of Montana. Kaiser returned to Montana in 2001 as press secretary of Baucus’ 2002 re-election campaign.

Kaiser, 34, has managed the senator’s eight Montana field offices, served as Baucus’ communications director and chief spokesman and  was a senior adviser to Baucus during two re-election campaigns. Kaiser is slated to start in March with Hilltop. He will be based in Billings, where he lives with his wife, Kari.

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