Political Notebook

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Pence initial picks differ from Daniels'

So far, Gov.-elect Mike Pence is filling key roles in his administration with familiar faces.

The first three appointments have extensive ties to state government.

The head of the Indiana Office of Management and Budget will be Chris Atkins, who previously served as general counsel and policy director for Gov. Mitch Daniels in the same agency.

Then there is Mike Ahearn, who will be Pence's new general counsel. Ahearn spent the last eight years at the Indiana Department of Transportation.

And Pence has also tapped a former lawmaker with 40 years experience in state government – Jeff Espich – as a legislative affairs adviser.

Compare that to eight years ago when Gov. Mitch Daniels came in and plucked many of his key advisers and agency heads from the private sector.

His appointments started with Chuck Schalliol as budget director. He left his position as president and chief executive officer of BioCrossroads to serve. Prior to that he spent years as an executive at Eli Lilly.

Next came chief of staff Harry Gonso, an attorney. Then Debra Minott as head of the State Personnel Department. She previously spent 11 years at Eli Lilly and was a high-ranking officer at Guidant Corp. when hired. And then there was Joel Silverman as Bureau of Motor Vehicles commissioner. He formerly headed a sporting goods chain.

To contact Niki Kelly email her at nkelly@jg.net or follow her on Twitter @nkellyatJG.

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