Mike Tanaka is a familiar face in Rhode Island, thanks both to his musical efforts with Mark Cutler's Dino Club and for his work as a television producer. Now he's got a new post: director of public and community relations in the office of Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts.
"I'm very excited," says Tanaka, who came to the Ocean State to attend grad school at Brown in the '80s, and who started in the new role last week.
Tanaka say his focus will be on strengthening strategic communications in the LG's office. Like a good staffer, he deferred when asked whether this is a signal regarding a potential 2010 gubernatorial run by Roberts. Tanaka will help to fill the role played by departing press secrertary Larkin Barker, who is joining Obama's campaign in NH. He says it is not yet clear whether someone else may ultimately be hired as press secretary.
An experienced TV hand, Tanaka left his role as an executive producer with MSNBC, where he was involved in political coverage, a little more than a year ago. Since television work meant commuting to New York, he says, he is looking forward to working closer to home.