ALBANY, NY: Robert Bellafiore, a former high-level aide to New York Gov. George Pataki, is joining Eric Mower & Associates as director of its public affairs practice. Bellafiore takes up his new post in Albany January 20.
Also joining the firm's PA practice is Esther Campi, a former press secretary to retired Sen. Fred Thompson (R) of Tennessee.
The firm is beefing up its public affairs practice in anticipation of a rash of new work this year as the state wrestles with major budget issues.
"That will inevitably create an increase in activity from a whole variety of organizations and corporations interested in how state government spends its money," said Greg Loh, a senior partner at Mower.
Bellafiore has worked with Pataki for eight years, serving as his first press secretary and most recently as deputy secretary for policy and planning.
Bellafiore said he has known Eric Mower for some time, and the firm has "a value set that's very compatible to mine. Getting into public affairs is a natural progression from what I've done for the governor the past eight years."
He agreed with Loh about business opportunities this year. "I think tough fiscal times make everyone more sensitive about how they get heard," Bellafiore said. "When things are tight, everything's a debate."