Vice President Kamala Harris’ communications director will step down next month after only serving in the role for one year, making him the latest in a string of exits from her office.
Veteran Democratic aide Jamal Simmons joined Harris’ staff in January to replace Ashley Etienne, who left the vice president’s office in November 2021.
Simmons had previously worked as a contributor at CBS News and The Hill and had served on Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000.
“Working for Vice President Harris has been an honor and a privilege,” Simmons said in a statement to Politico. “I’m so thankful for the confidence she put in me and I will miss this fantastic team more than anything.”
Harris’ chief of staff, Lorraine Voles, said in an email obtained by The Hill that Simmons’ wife accepted a job in New York and their family will move there “in the near future.”
Simmons came on board to help Harris’ public image following a rocky first year for the vice president’s office, which had faced a high turnover rate and reports of a negative workplace environment.
“I knew Jamal has young children and was concerned about time away from them, but I also knew he could help me steady the ship,” Voles’ email read. “Because of his deep respect for the Vice President, he agreed to come on board for a year.”
Other aides who have left Harris’ staff since she took office include former press secretary Symone Sanders, deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh, domestic policy adviser Rohini Kosoglu and director of speechwriting Meghan Groob.
Voles said in her email she is “working with the Communications team to determine next organizational steps.”
In the past, Simmons worked as an aide to former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark and former Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich.