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Melissa Skolfield, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s senior communications counsel whose hiring came amid much fanfare, is leaving the office after just two years on the job to return to the private sector.

Pelosi will not hire a replacement for Skolfield. Instead, her communications director Brendan Daly will take over many of her duties. Press secretary Jennifer Crider and special events coordinator Stacy Kerr will also be elevated to press deputies.

Skolfield, who will leave the office in a few weeks, is the first senior staffer to leave the Pelosi operation since the California Democrat came on as leader two years ago. Skolfield has been handling the Minority Leader’s message strategy and outreach and coordinating with other Democratic press secretaries on House Democrats’ communications plans.

Skolfield was tapped by Pelosi in early 2003, shortly after she became the Democratic leader. Skolfield had previously worked at Golin/Harris International. During the Clinton administration, she was a press secretary and public affairs adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Skolfield said she has several opportunities in private-sector consulting but isn’t ready yet to announce her next position.

Pelosi said Skolfield did “an outstanding job putting together a strong rapid response and communications outreach team to spread the Democratic message of prosperity, national security and opportunity. She will be missed, but I am confident that the strong team we have in place will continue to have the Democratic message be a drumbeat across America.”

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