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story.lead_photo.caption Hogan Gidley speaks at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock in 2013. (Photo by Jacob Slaton)

WASHINGTON -- Another Arkansan with solid Republican credentials has been tapped to work for President Donald Trump's press office.

Hogan Gidley, a longtime political operative who grew up in El Dorado, is joining the team headed by Little Rock native Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary.

Gidley, whose title will be deputy press secretary, and Sanders worked together on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's 2016 presidential bid. Sanders was her father's campaign manager and Gidley was the spokesman.

He started his West Wing job on Wednesday.

Gidley, 41, said it's "a privilege of the highest order" to serve in the Trump administration.

"I get to work at a place that I've revered and put on a pedestal my entire life," he said.

A 1998 graduate of the University of Mississippi, Gidley returned to Arkansas to pursue a career in journalism, working for television stations KAIT in Jonesboro and KKYK in Little Rock.

Working at small outlets, he did a little bit of everything, from co-hosting a morning show to delivering weather forecasts.

Gidley left the news business to take a job in state government, working, for a time, as Huckabee's director of media operations. He later served as executive director for the South Carolina Republican Party from 2006-07.

Over the years, Gidley has worked for various Republican candidates, including the failed re-election bid of then-U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina in 2008 and the campaign of presidential candidate Rick Santorum in 2012.

Gidley also served as executive director of HUCK PAC, the former governor's political action committee.

More recently, he worked as a Republican political consultant and a CBS News contributor.

Chip Saltsman, a senior adviser to Huckabee's 2016 presidential campaign, said the press shop will be able to rely on Gidley.

"He is fiercely loyal to the people he works with," Saltsman said. "In this White House, that's a great attribute."

Gidley's track record bodes well, he added. "He's a great communicator. He stays on message. ... I think [he's] a great addition to the White House communications team."

Katon Dawson, former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, called the new deputy a "very talented, hardworking, good Christian guy."

Gidley benefited by living in a state with a high-stakes, first-in-the-South presidential primary; he even organized a couple of Republican presidential debates, Dawson said.

"Hogan cut his teeth in Arkansas and he polished up his resume in South Carolina," Dawson said. "He'll do a good job."

Fox News broke the story of Gidley's hiring. The announcement surprised and pleased Gov. Huckabee. "Thrilled to hear this! @JHoganGidley is a pro and great guy," he posted on Twitter.

Gidley said he's excited to work with Sanders and the rest of the team.

"I can't wait to get my feet wet, learn everything I need to know and then help out any way I can," he added.

A Section on 10/13/2017

Print Headline: Arkansan joins Trump team; Gidley will work with Sanders as deputy press secretary

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