- Last June, the Sri Lankan American resigned from his post to join Everytown for Gun Safety as chief public affairs officer and senior vice president.
Mahen Gunaratna, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s communications director has returned to his old job, Politico has reported. Last June, the Sri Lankan American resigned from his post to join Everytown for Gun Safety as chief public affairs officer and senior vice president, along with their two grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action.
In his role at Everytown, the group founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gunaratna was responsible for executing a national gun safety strategy. He also served on the board of a PAC and nonprofit helmed by First Lady Tammy Murphy, and on the board of the Strong Fairer Forward PAC. Gunaratna confirmed to Politico that he was stepping down from both board positions.
Alex Altman, who served as Murphy’s acting communications director, will return to her position as deputy communications director, the New Jersey Globe reported.
Gunaratna joined Murphy’s senior staff after the 2017 campaign and has been the governor’s communications director since he took office on Jan. 16, 2018. He previously worked for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, several members of Congress and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential race.
He played a “major role” at the start of the coronavirus crisis in March 2020, “in putting Murphy directly in front of the state and the nation through regular televised press conferences and interviews on top national and state television and radio stations,” as reported by New Jersey Globe.
He was “a key player in Murphy’s Poolhouse Strategy, a plan that involved spending less than $20,000 to install a mini-TV studio at Murphy’s Monmouth County home that enabled the governor to secure network and cable television stations that offered him the exposure that he could not get through a rapidly-diminishing traditional New Jersey press corps,” the Globe said.
(Top photo, Mahen Gunaratna with his wife Erin Jaeger)