Melissa Moody, who's been Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's chief of staff, is leaving the office to start a consulting business. To replace her: Blake Rutherford, a lawyer who most recently has been at Stone Ward. Will the Think Tank survive?
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s longtime Chief of Staff, Melissa Moody, announced today she is leaving her post to start a new government relations consulting firm.
Moody has been Chief of Staff since McDaniel took office in 2007. She previously served as McDaniel’s campaign manager in his successful bid to become Attorney General.
“I have enjoyed my time working with Dustin and with the amazing staff and brilliant attorneys at the AG’s Office, but the prospect of starting a firm, and doing what I love, was a challenge too enticing not to pursue,” Moody said.
“I’m grateful for the experience and opportunity to serve the people of Arkansas in this role; most importantly, though, I have been honored to work alongside the caring staff members who dedicate their professional lives to advocating for the citizens of our state,” Moody added.
“I can’t think of enough good things to say about Melissa,” McDaniel said. “She was instrumental in helping me become Attorney General and she’s been an asset to the State of Arkansas during her tenure here.
“Melissa told me several months ago that she was ready to move on to her next challenge. I understand that, but I hate to see her go. This office will miss her leadership, and I’ll miss her counsel and encouragement. She is one of my best friends and most trusted confidants,” McDaniel added.
During her tenure as Chief of Staff, Moody led the Attorney General’s legislative team during two highly successful legislative sessions, guiding the passage of 25 of 27 bills, including overhauling the state’s animal cruelty law and electronically tracking the purchase of pseudoephedrine, used in making methamphetamine.
“I’m also pleased to announce that Blake Rutherford of Little Rock will come on board as my new chief of staff,” McDaniel said.
Rutherford is a graduate of Little Rock Central High School, Middlebury College and the University of Arkansas School of Law. Since 2006, Rutherford has been the Director of Public Communications at Stone Ward, a Little Rock-based advertising and public relations firm. Prior to joining Stone Ward, Rutherford was an attorney with Wright, Lindsey and Jennings LLP. He also serves as an adjunct professor at the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law.
“Blake brings to this office a diverse professional background as well as a wealth of knowledge about our State. I am excited to work with him, and I know my staff is, too,” McDaniel added. “I know Blake will do well as he leads our office’s outreach and legislative efforts. He is a smart lawyer with great political and communication skills.”
Rutherford will start Sept. 13.