McDonnell taps Kent for Chief of Staff as appointment process begins
As expected Governor-Elect Bob McDonnell named Martin Kent the current Chief Deputy of Attorney General Bill Mims to become his Chief of Staff when he takes office next month. McDonnell also named a number of other appointments at a press conference this morning. These early round picks are not surprises and won’t shake up any current political establishments in Richmond (namely the State Senate).
Andy Jenks covered the Governor’s press event this morning he will have a full report tonight at 5 & 6 on NBC12.
The full list of appointments can be found after the jump.
McDonnell Announces First Appointments to Administration
Martin Kent, Chief Deputy Attorney General of Virginia, to Serve as Chief of Staff
RICHMOND– Virginia Governor-elect Bob McDonnell announced the first appointments in his incoming gubernatorial administration today during a late morning press conference at the State Capitol.
McDonnell named two longtime senior staff members in the Office of the Attorney General, Martin Kent and Marla Decker, to serve as his Chief of Staff and Secretary of Public Safety, respectively. He announced that he would reappoint the Commonwealth’s current Secretary of Finance, Ric Brown, to the same position. McDonnell named Eric Finkbeiner, who previously served under Governors Doug Wilder and George Allen, as Senior Advisor for Policy, a cabinet level position in the McDonnell Administration. Rounding out the initial round of appointments, McDonnell announced Tucker Martin as Director of Communications.
Speaking about incoming Chief of Staff Martin Kent, McDonnell remarked, “I have known and worked closely with Martin Kent for the past few years. He is dedicated, diligent and tireless. He has a comprehensive understanding of state government, an understanding matched by very few. As my Chief Counsel in the Office of the Attorney General, and most recently as Chief Deputy Attorney General of Virginia under current Attorney General Bill Mims, Martin has earned his deserved reputation as a trusted and respected public servant who values good government and sound policy. I thank Martin for being willing to take on this critically important responsibility.”
McDonnell also spoke about his first Cabinet appointments, stating, “Marla Decker has been with the Office of the Attorney General for over 25 years. She has worked with Democratic and Republican Attorneys General alike. As my Deputy Attorney General for Public Safety, Marla was instrumental in leading the fights against gangs, terrorism and drugs in the Commonwealth. The daughter and granddaughter of New York City police officers, Marla has built longstanding and positive relationships with law enforcement leaders statewide that will prove of great benefit in her new capacity.”
McDonnell continued, “Secretary Ric Brown has been a dedicated servant to the citizens of the Commonwealth for more than 35 years. His in-depth knowledge of state government finances is unparalleled. Thus, I have asked Secretary Brown to stay on as my Secretary of Finance until such time as I believe my administration has a complete understanding of our current economic situation. ”
Finally, McDonnell added, “Eric Finkbeiner has played key roles in two prior gubernatorial administrations. He is a noted policy expert, and his counsel has been regularly sought out by elected officials in the Commonwealth. We ran a campaign of ideas, and this will be a policy-driven Administration. As Senior Advisor for Policy I will call on Eric often, and he will be directly involved in the development and implementation of numerous important initiatives in the years ahead.”
Below are bios of each of today’s appointees.
Further announcements regarding additional appointments in the McDonnell Administration will be made in the weeks ahead.
Martin L. Kent
Since leaving private practice in Altavista, Virginia in 2001, where his emphasis was criminal defense and civil litigation, Martin has been an attorney with the Virginia Office of the Attorney General. From 2001-2006, he served in various capacities in the Public Safety and Enforcement Division including Chief of the Office’s Special Prosecutions Section. Shortly after being elected Attorney General in 2006, Bob McDonnell appointed Martin to serve as his Chief Counsel coordinating the Office’s representation of state boards and commissions and interaction with the Governor’s Office and the Virginia General Assembly. In addition, he oversaw Attorney General McDonnell’s Government and Regulatory Reform Task Force and his legislative agenda. After Attorney General McDonnell’s departure to run for Governor, and upon his appointment as Attorney General by the General Assembly in February 2009, the Honorable William C. Mims appointed Martin as Chief Deputy Attorney General. Martin has been a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Virginia since 1993. He received a B.S. degree from the University of Richmond and a J.D. degree from Mercer University. Prior to attending law school, he was an Insurance Examiner with the Virginia State Corporation Commission, Bureau of Insurance.
Martin is originally from Pittsylvania County where he was raised on his family farm. He currently resides in Hanover County with his wife, Vonda, and their daughters Madyson, Rachel and Campbell. They attend New Hanover Presbyterian Church. He is the current Treasurer of the Hanover County Bar Association and is involved in other civic organizations and activities in the area.
Marla Graff Decker
Marla Decker is a graduate of Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Virginia. She began her legal career in 1983 as an Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In January of 2005, Marla was promoted to Deputy Attorney General of the Public Safety and Enforcement Division in the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia. That Division is comprised of the Criminal Litigation, Correctional Litigation, Health Care Fraud & Elder Abuse, and Special Prosecutions & Organized Crime Sections. It also includes the Gang Reduction & Intervention Program (GRIP) as well as the Attorney General’s other Anti-Crime Initiatives. Marla was re-appointed to that position by Attorney General Bob McDonnell when he took office in January of 2006.
In addition to her other responsibilities as Deputy Attorney General, Marla supervises and staffs Attorney General William C. Mims’ anti-gang, anti-terrorism and crime prevention initiatives, responsibilities she has assumed for four Attorneys General. Ms. Decker also supervises the drafting of criminal legislation, as well as develops and implements training initiatives and conducts community awareness events relating to gangs. Additionally, Marla supervises the initiation of criminal investigations and prosecutions, as well as provides presentations on Virginia’s gang laws, prevention initiatives, and other related topics.
Further, Marla serves as an evening adjunct faculty member of the University of Richmond School of Law and the University of Richmond School of Continuing Studies. She teaches courses in Appellate Advocacy, Terrorism Law, Legal and Ethical Considerations for Emergency Managers, and Law of Disasters. As part of her role as Deputy Attorney General, Marla also teaches for law enforcement academies on topics such as Fourth Amendment law, identity theft, terrorism, and gangs. Finally, Ms. Decker is a life member of the Tuckahoe Volunteer Rescue Squad in Henrico County and lectures to pre-hospital providers on terrorism and public safety issues. Marla is married to Chip Decker, Chief Executive Officer of the Richmond Ambulance Authority.
Richard D. Brown (Ric)
Ric Brown is a native of Arlington County, Virginia. He received a B.A. Degree in Economics from the College of William and Mary and a Masters of Commerce Degree from the University of Richmond.
Ric entered state service in 1971 as an Economist with the Division of State Planning and Community Affairs. While employed by this agency, he served as staff to numerous legislative and executive study commissions including: the Revenue Resources and Economic Study Commission, the National and Dulles Airports Acquisition Study Commission, and Governor Holton’s Task Force on Financing the Standards of Quality in Public Education.
In 1976, Ric moved to the newly created Department of Planning and Budget (DPB). Initially, he was employed as a Policy Analyst dealing with educational matters. He later transferred to the Research Section where he focused his attention on special studies relating to state/local issues and taxation.
Ric was promoted in 1986 to budget manager for the Commerce and Resources Section within the Department of Planning and Budget. In this capacity, he coordinated the development of the Governor’s budget recommendations to the General Assembly for the Economic Development and Natural Resources’ agencies.
In 1987, Ric took over the managerial duties of Budget Operations; and in 1990 he was promoted to the position of Deputy Director for Budgeting within the Department of Planning and Budget. On June 1, 2001, Governor Gilmore appointed him as Acting Director of the Department of Planning and Budget. He was reappointed as Director by Governors Warner and Kaine. As the Director of DPB, Ric was responsible for both external (other agency) and internal (within DPB) budget development and execution procedures as well as for the development and publication of the Governor’s Budget Bill and Budget Document.
In August 2008, Governor Kaine appointed Ric Brown as his Secretary of Finance.
Secretary Brown is Past-President of the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO). He is also a three-time past President of the Board of Directors of the Richmond Area Association for Retarded Citizens and still continues to serve on the Board of that organization.
Two awards that Secretary Brown has received that are worthy of special mention include the Gloria Timmer Award for exceptional achievements and career accomplishments from the National Association of State Budget Officers in 2002 and the Lifetime Public Achievement Award from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs of Virginia Commonwealth University for excellence in Virginia Government in 2005
Eric Finkbeiner is an attorney who served in both the Wilder and Allen administrations prior to joining McGuireWoods in 1999. He served as a policy advisor to Governor Allen on public safety and transportation issues and also served as his Executive Director for the Governor’s Commission on Parole Abolition and Sentencing Reform. In the Wilder administration he served as Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Criminal Justice Services, then as Communications Director for the Governor’s Task Force on Violent Crime.
Finkbeiner earned his B.S. in Mass Communications from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1990 and his law degree from the University of Richmond School of Law in 1999. He is a Senate appointee to the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission. Finkbeiner is a partner at the law firm of McGuireWoods and served as Director of the Virginia Government relations team for their public affairs subsidiary, McGuireWoods Consulting. At McGuireWoods he represented both the Federation of Virginia Food Banks and the Tangier Island Health Foundation on a pro-bono basis.
Finkbeiner resides in Midlothian, and has been married for 17 years to the former Michelle Hodge. They have two children, Megan, 13, and Jack, 10.
J. Tucker Martin
J. Tucker Martin currently serves as Director of Communications for the transition of Virginia Governor-elect Bob McDonnell. He was Director of Communications for McDonnell’s gubernatorial campaign. Prior to the campaign Martin was Director of Communications during McDonnell’s term as Virginia’s 44th Attorney General.
Before joining McDonnell, Martin served as Deputy Press Secretary for Jerry Kilgore’s 2005 gubernatorial campaign and as Deputy Director of Communications for Kilgore during the second half of his term as Attorney General. Martin worked for Virginia House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith during the 2004 General Assembly session. Before moving to Richmond, Martin was a consultant for a small media firm in Alexandria. He received his B.A. degree in History from Randolph-Macon College in 2000 and his M.A. degree in Political Management from The George Washington University in 2001. He was raised in Hopewell and resides in Richmond.