Davis Names Editor as Communications Chief

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Gov.-elect Gray Davis on Tuesday named Philip J. Trounstine, political editor of the San Jose Mercury News since 1986, as communications director for the new administration.

Davis also brought aboard Michael Flores, his chief of staff in the lieutenant governor's office, as director of administration and protocol.

During Davis' campaign for governor, Trounstine wrote a line that Davis and his supporters would repeat often: He called Davis "perhaps the best-trained governor-in-waiting California has ever produced."

Now Trounstine, 49, will oversee Davis' speech writing and scheduling. He will also serve as a liaison to some of the consultants who ran Davis' campaign and will continue to provide advice to the governor.

"I think that if Gov.-elect Davis is willing to spend some of the enormous political capital that he's earned over 25 years--and I think he is--then I think he has the potential to be a great governor," Trounstine said in an interview. "I think Gray Davis wants to do good . . . and that's somebody worth taking a chance on."

Trounstine said in a statement issued by Davis' office that after 23 years as a journalist, he was "thrilled to have the opportunity to play a central role in shaping, guiding and conveying Gov.-elect Davis' message" on schools, the environment, public safety and the economy.

Flores will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the governor's office. He will also be Davis' point person for California-Mexico affairs.

Davis promised during his campaign to heal the relationship between California and Mexico, which he said Wilson damaged by attacking affirmative action and illegal immigration. He is planning to visit Mexico early next year and again in September.

Flores has also served as chief information security officer for former state Treasurer Kathleen Brown and as an associate consultant for the Senate Democratic Caucus.

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