Matt Hinch stepping down as Branstad's chief of staff

After nearly two years on the job, Matt Hinch is resigning as Governor Terry Branstad’s chief of staff, effective August 7. The full press release from the governor’s office is after the jump.

Hinch is leaving for an unspecified “private sector” opportunity. I expect to hear soon that he is joining one of the Republican presidential campaigns. Hinch’s previous work included a stint as campaign manager for then-U.S. Representative Tom Latham. He also served as chief of staff for Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen and handled government relations for the Greater Des Moines Partnership, an influential business-oriented group.

Hinch kept a low profile as the governor’s chief of staff, rarely making the news. Last year, he headed a quick (and I mean very quick) review of secret settlements with former state employees, which sidestepped allegations of political cronyism that affected the careers of some merit-based state workers. Former Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert has asserted that Hinch and other senior Branstad administration officials thwarted her efforts to make her department’s chief administrative law judge position a merit-based job, as the U.S. Department of Labor has demanded.

UPDATE: Another plausible theory: Hinch may go to work for the Iowa Partnership for Clean Water, an astroturf group the Iowa Farm Bureau created to lobby against any regulations to improve water quality.

July 29 press release from Governor Terry Branstad’s office:

Hinch steps down to pursue opportunity in private sector after nearly two years as Chief of Staff

Matt Hinch, Gov. Terry E. Branstad’s and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Chief of Staff since October 14, 2013, today announced he is departing the governor’s office to pursue an opportunity in the private sector. A photo of Hinch can be found here.

“It has been an incredible privilege to serve as Governor Branstad’s and Lieutenant Governor Reynolds’ Chief of Staff,” said Hinch. “In Governor Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Reynolds, Iowa has two hardworking leaders who are passionate for building Iowa for the future. Leaving the office, the governor and lieutenant governor, and the talented staff will be bittersweet. I’ll miss the work of shaping policy that positions Iowa for continued growth, but I am eager to pursue my next career opportunity.”

Hinch is the second chief of staff for Branstad-Reynolds since they took office. Hinch succeeded Jeff Boeyink, who departed in 2013.

“Matt Hinch has been an exceptional leader for our office and will be greatly missed,” said Branstad. “I appreciate his leadership as we worked to address critically important issues like workforce training, student debt and improving Iowa’s infrastructure. Matt’s ability to build a consensus, analyze and manage complex issues, and offer a strategic vision for growth will serve him well in his next endeavor.”

“I want to thank Matt Hinch for his service as the Chief of Staff for our office. Matt’s tireless dedication and passion for advancing sound policy that fosters growth in Iowa have been the hallmark of his tenure,” said Reynolds. “I wish Matt all the best as he transitions to a career outside of state government.”

Hinch will the leave the governor’s office on Aug. 7, 2015. An announcement regarding his future will be made at a later date by his future employer. Hinch, 35, and his wife Ali, reside in West Des Moines with their two young children.

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