PoliticsState House

Governor’s Spokesman Enters Private Sector

Brian Symmes headed to top South Carolina lobbying firm …

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Less than ninety days into its second full term, the administration of South Carolina governor Henry McMaster has lost a longtime key staffer.

Brian Symmes, the governor’s deputy chief of staff for communications, has jumped ship and entered the private sector. He is now working as vice president of government affairs at the Columbia, S.C. lobbying powerhouse, McGuireWoods Consulting.  

Symmes worked his way up through the administration’s ranks, starting as deputy press secretary to McMaster’s predecessor, Nikki Haley, in 2013. He rose to the top communications spot when McMaster took the reins of government in 2017 and had served in that capacity ever since.

Symmes earned battle stripes along the way by handling McMaster’s messaging during the COVID epidemic. He dealt with local as well as national news media and coordinated messaging by providing guidance to various agency heads and their PIO chiefs as the state responded to the outbreak.



Additionally, he addressed an array of natural disasters from hurricanes to epic floods.

That expertise will now be put to good use for McGuireWoods’ wide range of clients.

“Brian has been a key player in crafting media messages for some of the most noteworthy governors and policies in the country and helping them navigate a challenging media landscape,” said Bryan Flynn, the firm’s senior vice president and director of state government relations. “We are glad to have Brian join our team.”    

Before coming to Columbia, Symmes attended Clemson University where he received his bachelor’s degree and was a member of the Clemson Tigers’ football team.



Mark Powell (Provided)

J. Mark Powell is an award-winning former TV journalist, government communications veteran, and a political consultant. He is also an author and an avid Civil War enthusiast. Got a tip or a story idea for Mark? Email him at mark@fitsnews.com.



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