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Zainyeh to join Chafee administration as chief of staff

December 20, 2011

RIPR has learned that George Zainyeh is joining the Chafee administration as the governor’s chief of staff.

Zainyeh, a former state rep from Warwick, almost beat Chafee in the 1998 race for mayor of Warwick. Zainyeh later served as chief of staff to former US Representative Patrick Kennedy.

No word yet on what will become of Chafee’s current chief of staff, Patrick Rogers.

Developing ….

UPDATE: Here’s the official release:

Governor Lincoln D. Chafee today announced that, effective January 13, 2012, his Chief of Staff and Executive Counsel Patrick A. Rogers will be returning to the practice of law. George A. Zainyeh will serve as the Governor’s Chief of Staff.

“When I asked Patrick to lead my transition team and, later, serve in a joint capacity as my Chief of Staff and Executive Counsel, we agreed that it would be a one-year commitment to help me establish my Administration,” Governor Chafee said. “With the New Year approaching, in keeping with his commitment to me, Patrick will be returning to practicing law.”

“I am forever grateful for the essential role Patrick played during my winning campaign and for his invaluable guidance in helping to select my outstanding cabinet and staff. Pat has demonstrated a commitment to public service throughout his life – as a Peace Corps volunteer, East Providence City Council member, and excellent Chief of Staff and Executive Counsel.”

“It has been a privilege and an honor to serve the Governor and the State of Rhode Island for this past year,” Rogers said. “I have long been an admirer of the Governor’s courage and independence and his selfless commitment to Rhode Island. In George Zainyeh, the Governor has selected an outstanding successor, who I am confident will be an asset to the Chafee Administration and help further the Governor’s vision for the State of Rhode Island. I look forward to the continued success of Governor Chafee’s Administration, and will continue to assist in any way called upon.”

“George Zainyeh has had a distinguished career in public service,” Governor Chafee said. “His background includes three terms in the Rhode Island House of Representatives, where he represented Warwick and served as Deputy Majority Leader. In addition, George spent nine years with Congressman Patrick Kennedy and served as Chief of Staff.”

“George is extraordinarily talented and agrees with my strategic vision for our state,” Governor Chafee continued. “Having run against George twice in my campaigns for Mayor of Warwick, I know first-hand of George’s tremendous abilities, governmental experience, and deep commitment to Rhode Island. I am confident that George’s addition will further strengthen an already outstanding team. His temperament and his experience at all levels of government will serve me well in the upcoming budget process, in working to advance my legislative initiatives and agenda, and in the myriad issues he will confront as Chief of Staff.”

“Lincoln Chafee is thoughtful, honest, and straightforward,” Zainyeh said. “I know Governor Chafee to be a man of tremendous integrity and I have a great deal of respect for him. I have big shoes to fill and look forward to building on the successful foundation that Pat Rogers has built over the past year.”

Zainyeh was most recently Chief Strategy Officer for Family Service of Rhode Island, one of the state’s oldest and largest non-profit human service agencies. In addition to his service in the Rhode Island House and with Congressman Kennedy, Zainyeh also previously served as Vice President for Strategic Initiatives for the Princeton Review and as the American Cancer Society’s Director of Government Relations and Advocacy for Rhode Island. A graduate of Bishop Hendricken High School, he earned a B.A. and M.S. (Labor & Industrial Relations) from the University of Rhode Island.

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