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Watson Named Perdue's Chief of Staff

Wednesday, November 19, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Tanenblatt to Step Down at End of Year

Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue today tapped veteran political operative and legislative and public affairs expert John Watson as his new Chief of Staff. He will replace Eric Tanenblatt effective January 1, 2004.

John K. Watson has been active in politics, government, and business at the local, state and federal levels for more than fourteen years. He served as General Consultant to Governor Perdue's highly-effective campaign for Governor and as Vice Chairman of Governor Perdue's transition. He then helped form a public affairs firm -- Watson, Massey & Bowers LLC where he serves as President and Managing Principal. The company's partners include former Georgia Attorney General Michael J. Bowers, Bruce E. Bowers, and former Georgia Secretary of State Lewis A. Massey.

"I am extremely pleased to have John rejoining my team," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "His sage counsel and his passion for making Georgia an even better place to live will be most welcome as we continue to move our state forward."

"I am deeply grateful to Eric Tanenblatt for laying the foundation for my Administration, building a top notch team, and giving so selflessly over the past year," said Governor Perdue. "Eric was gracious enough to extend his tour of duty an extra six months and I appreciate his sacrifice of precious time away from his wife, Mary, and their two young boys. He will continue to be a trusted advisor to me and my team."

A native Virginian and a 1991 graduate of Wake Forest University with a degree in Political Science, Watson began his political career as staff assistant to the Fairfax County, Virginia, Board of Supervisors.

In 1993, Watson relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, serving as former Congressman Bob Barr's Finance Director in his first election to Georgia's Seventh Congressional District. Following Barr's 1994 election, Watson was appointed District Representative, where he managed four district offices in the greater metropolitan Atlanta area.

In 1995, Watson became Finance Director for the Georgia Republican Party, achieving unprecedented fundraising objectives. In 1997, Watson joined Mike Bowers, Georgia's Attorney General for 16 years, as Campaign Manager for the Mike Bowers for Governor Campaign. Following the 1998 election cycle, Watson entered the business sector to serve as Vice President of Business Development for Construction Systems, Inc., where he launched a successful commercial construction division.

Watson is a member of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and serves as Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party Foundation. John and his wife, Kimberly, have two daughters and reside in Cobb County, Georgia.

Watson will begin a transition period to the Governor's staff immediately and will officially assume his position upon Tanenblatt's departure in January. Both Tanenblatt and Watson will travel with Governor Perdue to this weekend's Republican Governor's Association meeting in Boca Raton, Florida.