CHICAGO – Governor Rod Blagojevich today named Gerardo Cardenas as his new Chicago Press Secretary, the first Latino to hold this position. Cardenas is a trilingual journalist with 20 years of experience, including over 13 years as a foreign correspondent for an international wire service in Mexico and Europe. He comes to the Governor’s Office from Hoy Newspaper, a Chicago Tribune Spanish publication where he served as Assignment Editor for the last three years. Cardenas will be responsible for press relations for both Chicago mainstream media and the Hispanic media. He is filling the position that has been vacant since Abby Ottenhoff moved into the position of Deputy Director of Communications last May.
“Gerardo’s depth of experience as a journalist and editor will be valuable to our office as we work to communicate our goals and initiatives to the public and respond to questions from the media,” said Governor Blagojevich.
Cardenas will also serve as the Governor’s Hispanic Community Liaison, a position previously held by Maribel Hopgood-Bracho, who joined the Governor’s executive team during the transition into office in 2003. As Governor Blagojevich’s Director of Community Relations, Hopgood-Bracho coordinated outreach and community relation’s efforts throughout the Chicago metropolitan area, regularly representing the Governor and serving as liaison to elected officials and community leaders. She was also in charge of Latino Affairs and served as the Governor’s Hispanic spokesperson.
Hopgood-Bracho is joining Scofield Communications, the public affairs firm headed by former Deputy Governor Doug Scofield. She will serve as Vice President heading the “Latino Strategies” division of Scofield Communications, focusing on corporate and non-profit public affairs and strategic communications. In her new role, she will work to help companies and non-profits that are working to communicate better with client and customer bases that are increasingly Latino. She emphasized that she is also looking forward to continuing to work with and assist Governor Blagojevich in any way possible.
“I’m very appreciative of the opportunity Governor Blagojevich has given to me and to Latinos throughout state government. I look forward to continuing to work closely with him and his administration to help empower Latinos,” Hopgood-Bracho said. “Our state’s Latino population is growing dramatically and I will always work to help Governor Blagojevich serve the needs of our community.”
Cardenas will begin his new role on Monday, October 11.