Centers leaving Branstad Administration

Jimmy Centers (submitted photo)

Jimmy Centers (submitted photo)

From Press Release


Jimmy Centers, who has served as communications director for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds since December 2013, and has worked for Branstad-Reynolds in various capacities since 2009, will depart the governor’s office to pursue a career in the private sector. Centers’ last day in the Branstad-Reynolds administration will be Friday, September 25. His new private sector opportunity will be announced at a later date by his new employer.

Ben Hammes, who has served as the director of appointments to Iowa’s boards and commissions and as a policy advisor in the Branstad-Reynolds administration since January 2014, will succeed Centers as communications director.

“It has been an incredible honor to serve as the communications director for Governor Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Reynolds and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to serve in their administration,” said Centers. “I will always remember the governor’s and lieutenant governor’s tireless commitment and passion to serve the people of Iowa and their steadfast commitment to do what is right for the state of Iowa. Ben Hammes will do an exceptional job as the new communications director for the administration.”

Branstad and Reynolds offered their appreciation for Centers’ service.

“Lieutenant Governor Reynolds and I have enjoyed working with Jimmy since 2009 when he served as a field director in Northeast Iowa on our 2010 gubernatorial campaign,” said Branstad. “Jimmy has served in several capacities in our administration, including scheduling, deputy communications director and communications director. In each role, he brought energy, dedication and a tremendous work ethic while always looking for ways to evolve and improve our office’s communications delivery and reach. We wish him well in his new endeavor and are pleased to bring Ben Hammes into a new role in which we are confident he will excel.”

“Over the years, Jimmy has been an asset as a communications adviser and spokesman who always remembered that government serves the taxpayers,” said Reynolds. “Jimmy’s ability to effectively communicate in situations that require a rapid response, coupled with his ability to craft and implement effective communications plans for a variety of situations, will serve him well in his new career in the private sector. Though we’re disappointed to see Jimmy move on, we know that we have a talented, capable professional in Ben Hammes, who is ready to move into his new role.”

Jimmy Centers, 28, is a Peoria, IL, native and a graduate of the University of Iowa.  During his time leading communications for Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds, Centers leveraged emerging social media like Instagram, Snapchat, Meerkat and Periscope while managing and crafting governor’s office messaging, coordinating communications from Iowa executive branch departments and agencies, writing speeches for the governor and lt. governor, organizing hundreds of events and press conferences, upholding the administration’s steadfast commitment to transparency by handling all media inquiries, and being the on-the-record spokesman for Branstad and Reynolds.

Ben Hammes (submitted photo)

Ben Hammes (submitted photo)

Hammes, 29, is a Story City native and graduated with a degree in political communications from the University of Northern Iowa in 2008.  Upon graduation, Hammes worked for U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley in Washington, D.C. for just short of 3 years as a staff assistant and legislative correspondent.  He returned to Iowa in 2011 and worked for U.S. Rep. Tom Latham both in an official capacity and on his re-election campaigns until his announced retirement in late 2013.  Hammes has since served the administration in variety of capacities.  He and his wife, Morgan, reside in Clive.