Kent Alexander was a partner with Sam Nunn at King & Spalding. (Rebecca Breyer)
Kent Alexander, who has traveled the world since 2011 as general counsel of international aid organization CARE Inc., has joined Michelle Nunn’s U.S. Senate campaign as chief of staff and strategy.
Alexander told the Daily Report this week that his decision to work full time for Nunn—a longtime friend with whom he cofounded Hands On Atlanta—offered a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with someone who is such a good friend and would be such a great senator.”
Alexander’s former deputy at CARE, Eric Johnson, has been named general counsel. Johnson joined CARE eight years ago as associate general counsel after four years as a staff attorney in Washington, D.C., for World Vision, an international children’s charitable organization.
Alexander announced his new position in a Dec. 27 email to friends and colleagues. The letter also solicited contributions for a year-end fundraising deadline in Nunn’s campaign to win the Democratic nomination to replace retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
Alexander said in his email that he has joined Nunn’s campaign “to work full-time for a year toward making a difference much closer to home.”
“I want to do something positive to help change Washington,” Alexander wrote of his decision. “Too often we see rampant discord and dysfunction roiling our nation’s capital. By contrast Michelle is all about common ground and solutions. I really like her and what she stands for. I really don’t like the partisan polarization.”
Alexander said he met Nunn 25 years ago when the two cofounded Hands on Atlanta—a nonprofit organization that since its founding in 1989 has recruited thousands of community service volunteers. Alexander told the Daily Report that Nunn first contacted him last fall about working for the campaign. When he realized she had a full-time job in mind, he said he decided to leave CARE and renew old connections.
Alexander said that CARE was generous enough to offer him a leave of absence. But, he said, “as general counsel I couldn’t advise them to do that.”
Alexander said that when he was in college, he interned for Nunn’s father, then-U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn. As Nunn’s intern, he first met Michelle Nunn’s current campaign chairman, Gordon Giffin, who at the time was Nunn’s legislative aide. Alexander and Sen. Nunn subsequently were colleagues and partners at Atlanta’s King & Spalding.
Giffin, a longtime partner at McKenna, Long & Aldridge in Atlanta and former U.S. ambassador to Canada, chaired Sen. Nunn’s merit selection committee that eventually recommended Alexander to President Bill Clinton as U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. Alexander was U.S. attorney from 1994 until 1997.
Alexander later served as Emory University’s general counsel and senior vice president for 10 years, then worked a brief stint as GC of a medical software company. He moved to CARE after being recommended by former CARE general counsel Linda DiSantis, the mother of Nunn’s campaign manager, Jeff DiSantis.
Michelle Nunn, who served as Hands On Atlanta’s CEO, eventually merged that organization with former President George H.W. Bush’s Points of Lights Foundation, moved its headquarters to Atlanta and became Points of Light’s CEO.
Alexander said he has been with Nunn’s campaign since October. He said that his duties include networking with the state’s business community as well as offering what he described as “nonprofessional strategic advice,” which he distinguished from that provided by “the extraordinary people” already on Nunn’s campaign staff “who do this for a living.”
Alexander called his work for Nunn’s campaign “really worthwhile,” and described the candidate as “an antidote to the dysfunction in Washington.”