MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Gov. Kay Ivey has named Leah Garner as Communications Director, her office announced today. In related staff changes, Gina Maiola has been promoted to Press Secretary and Lori Jhons has been promoted Director of Digital Media Relations.
Garner currently works as the Director of Governmental and Advocacy for the Business Council of Alabama. She has worn a number of hats at BCA for the last five years, from helping coordinate the ProgressPAC political wing to working with the media. Before BCA she worked in communications at the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and was Deputy Press Secretary during former Gov. Robert Bentley’s first term. Garner also brings experience and knowledge of education policy, both from her work as a teacher and helping lead BCA’s education efforts.
With improving education being a main focus for the Ivey administration, having a Communications Director who understands the issue as well as the politics behind them will be a value-add for the team. Ivey referenced Garner’s multi-faceted experience upon announcing her appointment to the administration.
“Leah will be a strong addition to my Administration, and I am confident she will effectively lead the Communications Office,” Ivey said. “From her time as a teacher to her wide range of experience in state government, Leah has a unique perspective and a true heart for service.”
BCA President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt said Garner is an exceptional hire for the Ivey Administration.
“I commend Governor Kay Ivey for adding Leah Garner to her leadership team,” she said “Leah has been a valuable asset to Alabama’s business community, and I know she will continue doing great things for Alabama in this new role.”
Maiola and Jhons are both current deputy press secretaries in the governor’s press office. They have been leading the governor’s media efforts since early April, when former Press Secretary Daniel Sparkman stepped down to run for the state House of Representatives.
That work during the very busy legislative session was not lost on Ivey.
“Gina and Lori are two outstanding young women who have demonstrated their talents and professionalism during their time in the Governor’s Office,” Governor Ivey added. “I’m pleased to see both of them gain added responsibilities with these changes in our communications shop.”
The staff changes were first reported by ADN’s sister publication Inside Alabama Politics Tuesday morning.