Jess Smith provided

Jess Smith, chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet on Wednesday announced that he's hired management and communications pro Jess Smith as his chief of staff.

Smith moves to the Colorado Democrat's Senate office from J Street, a liberal foreign policy nonprofit where she was chief operating officer for the past four years.

She replaces Bennet's longtime chief of staff Jonathan Davidson, who departed last month to serve as assistant secretary for legislative affairs at the Treasury Department.

“Jess' extensive experience in management, communications and public service will serve our team well as we continue to fight for Colorado families and workers during this public health and economic crisis,” Bennet said in a statement. “We’re delighted to welcome Jess back to Capitol Hill, and I look forward to having her on our team.”

Bennet sits on the Senate Finance, Intelligence and Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry committees. He's running next year for a third term but has yet to draw a Republican opponent.

Before her stint at J Street, Smith was managing director and ran the public affairs and crisis practice at international public affairs firm Burson-Marsteller, winning a spot on PR Week's "40 Under 40" list of top public relations professionals.

She also served in the Obama administration as a senior spokesperson for the Department of Justice and as director of external affairs for FEMA during Hurricane Sandy.

Smith's last position on Capitol Hill was communications director for Virginia Democrat Jim Webb's U.S. Senate office and his 2006 campaign. She was a political director for Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign and an adviser to Terry McAuliffe during the 2000 Democratic National Convention.

“Michael Bennet has a reputation for being in government for the right reasons: he is a problem-solver and works tirelessly to secure results for Coloradans and the American people," Smith said in a statement.

"I am honored to join such a great team to continue their work to provide opportunity and security for all Coloradans and build an economy that works for everyone."

A graduate of Cornell University, Smith is a member of the President’s Council of Cornell Women and serves on the board of Interfaith Family. She and her husband, Erik, live in Washington, D.C., with their children, Jack and Genevieve.

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