Utah Sen.-elect Mitt Romney hires more staff as he prepares to take office next week

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 14: Sen.-elect Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and his fellow incoming GOP Senators walk to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office for a group photo-op in the Capitol on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Washington • Sen.-elect Mitt Romney on Thursday announced several new staffers as he ramps up to take office next Thursday.

Romney picked his campaign's political director Kelsey Berg as his deputy chief of staff, former Utah lawmaker and Salt Lake County Recorder Adam Gardiner as his state director and longtime Senate aide Liz Johnson to head up his communications shop.

Romney previously named his campaign manager, Matt Waldrip, who had led business development at the hedge fund Solamere, as his new chief of staff.

“Each new hire brings years of local, state, and national political experience that will help advise Senator-elect Romney as he serves the people of Utah,” Romney’s office said in announcing the new hires.

Berg previously worked for then-Rep. Jason Chaffetz as his top adviser on energy and natural resources issues and also ran Chaffetz's re-election campaign in 2016.

Gardiner is finishing his term as Salt Lake County recorder after losing a re-election bid against Democrat Rashelle Hobbs. Gardiner, who had served as a senior aide to Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and was previously his campaign manager, served one term in the Utah House and was the youngest member of the body at the time.

Johnson, who had worked as a spokeswoman for Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, comes to Romney’s staff after most recently heading the public affairs office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which has faced an onslaught of criticism over its handling of immigrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Johnson also served as a spokeswoman for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch during his confirmation hearings in 2017.