Gov. Brian Kemp has tapped a former aide to retired U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson to serve as his next chief of staff following the departure last month of his longtime top deputy.
Trey Kilpatrick, who served several roles for Isakson from 2009 to 2019 including deputy chief of staff, will start work as the governor’s chief of staff on Oct. 15.
An experienced campaigner with Isakson, Kilpatrick joins the Kemp administration at a pivotal time in which Georgia continues battling the COVID-19 pandemic and the governor gears up for his reelection bid in 2022.
“With his wealth of experience from both federal and state government, Trey is uniquely qualified to lead my administration,” Kemp said in a statement Wednesday. “Together, we will continue to put hardworking Georgians first – protecting lives and livelihoods as we battle COVID-19, reforming adoption and foster care, fighting human trafficking and prioritizing economic prosperity in every region of our state.”
Kilpatrick will not be the only tie between the Kemp administration and Isakson’s old office. Kemp appointed Isakson’s replacement in current U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler following the longtime senator’s retirement due to health concerns. Loeffler’s current chief of staff, Joan Carr, was also Isakson’s former chief of staff.
Kilpatrick served a short stint as vice president of governmental affairs for Georgia State University prior to joining the Kemp administration.
“I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to work with a great Georgian like Senator Isakson for 10 years, and now have the opportunity to work with a principled leader like Governor Kemp in his administration,” Kilpatrick said.
Kemp’s last permanent chief of staff was Tim Fleming, a political strategist who first worked with Kemp on his winning bid for a Georgia Senate seat in 2002, then managed his campaign for secretary of state in 2010. He served several roles in that office following Kemp’s win.
In 2018, Fleming managed Kemp’s underdog campaign for governor that saw the long-shot candidate prevail in the Republican primary and defeat Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams by a narrow margin. Fleming then signed on as chief of staff at the start of Kemp’s new administration.
Fleming was replaced on an interim basis by Caylee Noggle, who was the state’s chief management officer and previously held top posts in the Georgia Student Finance Commission and the state Office of Planning and Budget.
Noggle was the first woman to serve as a governor’s chief of staff in Georgia.