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Saturday, Jun 3, 2023

New Health Care Role for Press Secretary

It’s been a stressful few years for Margita Thompson. As press secretary for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger since his first term, Thompson has been flooded with loads of press queries, meeting requests and interview questions day after day. After three hectic years and another chaotic election season finished, it was time for a change. Thompson, 39, will take over Jan. 8 as vice president of communications for the Woodland Hills managed healthcare provider Health Net Inc. “Elections are a natural time when you can reflect on what you’ve done and start a new beginning. It’s a positive time for me to look forward,” she said. Thompson arrives with an extensive resume versed in high profile political, consulting and media positions in Washington, D.C., Sacramento and Los Angeles. After graduating from University of California Berkeley and Harvard University, she worked as an aide to Pete Wilson when he was a U.S. senator, later following him to Sacramento when he was elected governor. In between, she served on the Bush-Quayle campaign in California and for a series of public policy groups. By 1999, she was California press secretary and director of communications for the Bush-Cheney campaign, later working as press secretary for Lynn Cheney, the vice president’s wife. In 2000, Thompson was hired as director of California operations for the National Venture Capital Association, following a series of similar communications positions for other high-tech groups. In 2002, Thompson was named press secretary for former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan’s failed bid to become California governor. Later, she was hired by CNN to book guests for the talk show “Larry King Live.” Thompson said the Health Net position piqued her interest because of the company’s strong leadership and the idea of exploring a new sector in which she’s never worked. “It’s an extremely exciting time to be involved with healthcare. I’m very excited to learn,” she said. Thompson said she’s up for the challenge. “It will keep my adrenaline going after becoming an adrenaline junkie working for Arnold Schwarzenegger,” she said. Thompson is the second Schwarzenegger aide to head to Health Net this year. The governor’s chief of staff, Patricia Clarey, became the HMO’s chief operating officer in March.

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