Two more key staff members are leaving Governor Chet Culver’s staff. Culver’s chief of staff resigned April 19th. On Friday, Culver’s communications director and his press secretary announced they are leaving, too. Culver press secretary Troy Price worked for former Governor Tom Vilsack and began working for Culver when he took over as governor.
“It’s sad for me to be leaving the governor’s office,” Price says. “The place is like a family to me. Everyone here is like a family.” Given the exodus of other staff from Culver’s statehouse office as well as from his reelection campaign, Price expects the timing of his departure will raise eyebrows, but Price says it’s just a coincidence.
“I’ve been very proud of the work that this administration has done and I’m humbled to have been a small part of their success,” Price says. Price has been named policy director of One Iowa, an organization which lobbied for gay rights.
Erin Seidler became Culver’s communications director, on November 10th. Now, about six months later, Seidler says she’s leaving to return to graduate school. Culver has announced a replacement for Seidler. It’s James Flansberg, a Des Moines native who has worked at newspapers and a Des Moines television station. He’s the son of the long-time political columnist for The Des Moines Register who also goes by the name James Flansberg.
The younger Flansberg rejects the idea there’s an unusually high turn-over rate in the governor’s office.
“I mean the fact is is this is very standard. This is very common,” Flansberg says. “I think in an election season people like to try to create conspiracies, but the fact of the matter is this is normal.” Flansberg says he jumped at the chance to join Culver’s staff.
“I’ve been impressed with Governor Culver over the last nearly four years and I just wanted to be able to join the team,” Flansberg says, “so when I received the phone call, it’s like, ‘Where can I sign on?'” In addition to stints at the Ames Tribune, Cedar Rapids Gazette and Quad City Times, He also had worked as the communications director for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.