Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger just introduced his new chief of staff, Susan Kennedy, the former executive director of the California Democratic Party and a onetime top aide to former Gov. Gray Davis.
“I make decisions a lot of times that are out of the ordinary,” Schwarzenegger said in an understatement. “I never get stuck in a mold.”
Schwarzenegger said he made about 30 calls today to friends and supporters to tell them about his decision, and “95 percent” of them reacted positively.
Kennedy, currently serving as a member of the Public Utilities Commission, said she thought it was time for moderates like her to “put up or shut up” in order to move the state beyond partisan gridlock.
“I believe in this man,” she said. “I believe in what he’s trying to do for the state and where he’s trying to take California.”
“This is not about being against Democrats. This is about being for change.”
Schwarzenegger thanked his current chief of staff, Patricia Clarey, for her service, and said she would work through December during the transition to Kennedy. He said Clarey told him last summer that she intended to leave the administration shortly after the Nov. 8 election. She was not at the press conference.
UPDATE: FlashReport publisher and former Republican Party executive director Jon Fleischman says he has received 600 emails protesting the Kennedy appointment -- and one phone call from the governor explaining himself.