Lieutenant Governor-elect Delbert Hosemann named two former Secretary of State staffers to his transition team. Nathan Upchurch, who most recently served as the Agency’s Chief of Staff, will serve as Transition Director. Leah Rupp Smith, former Director of Communications, will serve as Deputy Transition Director.
Hosemann, currently serving as Secretary of State, garnered more than 60 percent of the vote in the November 5 General Election.
A native of Kosciusko, Mississippi, Upchurch is one of Hosemann’s longest serving employees. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Mississippi State University. In May 2018, Hosemann named Upchurch as Chief of Staff of the Secretary of State’s Office, overseeing eight divisions and more than 90 employees.
Prior to becoming Chief of Staff, Upchurch served as the Secretary of State’s Legislative Director. Among other responsibilities, Upchurch developed the policy and legislative agenda for the Agency, assisted in drafting legislation, and served as the primary liaison between the Agency and the State Legislature. Upchurch led the campaign team as Campaign Manager in Hosemann’s bid for Lieutenant Governor.
Smith, originally of Louisville, Kentucky, moved to Mississippi after earning a bachelor’s degree in English/journalism from Miami University of Ohio. She reported on state and local politics at The Clarion-Ledger, later serving as Director of Communications for the State Institutions of Higher Learning under Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Hank Bounds. Smith received her Juris Doctor from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law in 2013.
Prior to joining the Secretary of State’s Office as Director of Communications in 2016, Smith worked as an attorney at a large defense firm and clerked for The Honorable Leslie H. Southwick on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Smith coordinated policy research and communications on Hosemann’s campaign for Lieutenant Governor.
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