Gov loses senior staffer to MP&F

Campaign communications director joining public relations firm in January

Add another person to the list of people who have worked for both Gov. Phil Bredesen and a local public relations firm.

McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations announced today that Bredesen's campaign communications director, Will Pinkston, is joining the group as vice president for special projects.

Pinkston joins the list that includes outgoing deputy governor Dave Cooley, incoming deputy governor Stuart Brunson, and even NashvillePost.com's own Ken Whitehouse that have worked for both entities. The firm is barred, however, from doing work for the state of Tennessee due to the ownership stake of Katy Varney, who is married to Finance and Adminstration Commissioner Dave Goetz.

Pinkston, a Tennessee native, began his career as a journalist with The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss. in 1995. Just a year later he returned home to work for The Tennessean, where he stayed until 1999 when he moved to Atlanta to write for The Wall Street Journal's "Southeast Journal."

When the Journal shut the "Southeast Journal" down in 2000, he was then assigned the regional economics beat in the Southeast for the WSJ itself. He worked out of the Atlanta bureau before returning to Tennessee during the 2002 election cycle to join the Democratic camp as communications and research director for the Democratic Coordinated Campaign.

Since then he has worked with Bredesen's office in a variety of communications roles — serving as a speechwriter and spokesperson, helping with the launch of the Tennessee Lottery in 2003, and guiding the governor’s task force on methamphetamine use.