Above: Eric Fought recording his podcast, "In the Square," which ended earlier this year. (www.ericfought.com)
A veteran communications chief for left-leaning political campaigns, Eric Fought, is taking over as the public face of Mayor Betsy Hodges' office.
Fought took over the job this week. "The thing I’m really excited about is the opportunity to tell the story about how Minneapolis is moving forward under her leadership," he said in an interview.
He is the fourth person to serve in the sometimes high-profile role, following the recent departure of David Prestwood after just eight months. Prestwood had served as a lobbyist and Capitol aide in Washington, D.C., before joining the city.
“We kind of came to a mutual agreement between both sides that we had some different priorities for the communications program and the way things were done," Prestwood said last week. "And I decided that … they would probably be better with someone else, and I wanted to give them time to do that before 2017.”
Hodges' predecessor, R.T. Rybak, had three spokespeople over his 12-year tenure as mayor -- one of whom, John Stiles, is now the mayor's chief of staff.
But the circumstances are also somewhat unique, as Hodges' first spokeswoman left to take maternity leave and ultimately took the top communications position at the Metropolitan Council. Her successor was initially intended to be temporary, but remained longer than anticipated.
A Wisconsin native, Fought has been director of communications at the Minnesota DFL, the campaign to defeat the voter identification amendment and Minnesotans for a Fair Economy. Most of his roles have been campaign-related, though he served as regional public affairs director for the U.S. Navy Recruiting office in the mid-2000s.
In addition to political communications, Fought has a background in theology. He recently earned a Master of Divinity degree from St. John's University, and is studying for a doctoral degree from Aquinas Institute of Theology. He is not ordained.
"I do consider myself to be a faith leader in general," Fought said. "And throughout my life all of my work has been driven by that faith and values."