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Corbett names old hands to his inner circle

Gov.-elect Tom Corbett announced his first cabinet appointments, tapping four longtime aides who worked for him in the state Attorney General's Office to become members of his inner circle when he becomes governor.

Corbett named Brian Nutt as his chief of staff; Annmarie Kaiser as his Legislative Affairs secretary; Jennifer Branstetter as his Policy and Planning director and Kevin Harley as communications director.

"I'm grateful that such an experienced and trusted group of professionals is joining my administration," Corbett said in a statement. "They have worked closely with me on daily basis for years and I look forward to continuing to work with them as we tackle the challenges facing Pennsylvania."

Nutt, 39, is now the Corbett transition team's chief of staff. He was Corbett's gubernatorial campaign manager and previously served as his chief of staff in the Attorney General's Office. Nutt also managed Corbett's attorney general campaigns in 2004 and 2008.

Kaiser, 41, is currently serving as Corbett's acting Chief of Staff in the Attorney General's Office, as well as his Director of Legislative Affairs. Prior to joining the Attorney General's Office in 2005, she was the executive director of the Pennsylvania District Attorney's Association.

Branstetter, 38, is the transition team's policy director; she also held the same position in Corbett's gubernatorial campaign. Before that, she was the director of education and outreach in the Attorney General's Office. Prior to joining the attorney general's office, Branstetter was a communications manager for the Pennsylvania Bar Association and a deputy press secretary to Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker.

Harley, 47, is currently the transition team's communications director; he also held the same position for Corbett's gubernatorial election. Harley also was the Communications Director and Press Secretary for Corbett in the Attorney General's Office.