Governor-elect Wes Moore, Democrat, and Lieutenant Governor Arna Miller, Democrat, are calling on three young but veteran state and political figures to help run their administration.
The Moore-Miller transition team announced Wednesday evening that Matthew Verghese will become the new director of the incoming administration’s Washington, DC federal office. Emmanuel “Manny” Welsh will serve as the liaison between the Administration and the Public Works Board. Pokua “PK” Owusu Achou becomes Miller’s chief of staff. All grew up in Maryland and have worked in various capacities in state politicians and political institutions.
“This group of leaders will serve Maryland outstandingly,” Moore said in a statement.
Verghese was frequently present by Moore’s side both in the later weeks of the campaign and as he moved around the state after the election. Most recently, he served as Chief of Staff to Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.), and has held other high-ranking Brown positions in both the Capitol and the Lieutenant Governor’s office.
“Matt is a veteran of Maryland and national affairs and understands not only how government works, but how it can be improved for the people we serve,” Brown said. “As a trusted advisor for many years, I have seen his passion for public service and commitment to delivering real results for Marylanders.”
A child of immigrants, Burgess served as Senior Counsel to Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) during the 2016 election and served as the Political and Communications Director for the Maryland Democratic Party. He also briefly ran the now dormant Maryland Juice political blog. This blog was started by current State Representative David Moon (D-Montgomery).
The Filipino-born Mr. Wales holds the title of Senior Public Works Commissioner and will join the administration from the office of Inspector General Peter Franchot, a Democrat, who has been Chief of Staff since the fall of 2020. Since 2015 he has been with the Audit Office and since 2016 he has assisted Franchot in handling his BPW portfolio. His family moved to Maryland in 2003.
“Manny is one of the brightest young men in the Maryland government, and his work ethic and character are immense,” said Francho.
Owusu-Acheaw most recently headed political and legislative affairs for the Maryland Educational Association. The teachers’ union endorsed Moore early in the Democratic primary, giving Moore’s candidacy legitimacy and momentum.
Attorney Owusu-Acheaw, who grew up in Prince George County, came to MSEA after working as a government relations liaison for Prince George County Administrator Angela Alzbrooks, a Democrat. She also served as the District Director of George County for Van Hollen’s Prince Her and Chief of Staff to Senator Joan Benson (of D-Prince George).
“PK has a special combination of a passion for serving the state she loves and a natural talent to excel.” .
In addition to these appointments, Moore hired a chief of staff, three deputy chiefs of staff, and a deputy chief of staff. He also appointed a Chief Legislator and Chief Counsel, and appointed a Budget Secretary and Appointment Secretary. His two latter appointments are ministerial appointments, the candidates for which must be approved by the state Senate.
Moore plans to announce additional hiring in the next few days.