Hamilton promoted to press secretary for governor, to serve as lead spokesperson

Garbarino joins communications team as deputy press secretary

Natalie Hamilton has been promoted to press secretary of the communications team of Gov. Phil Murphy and will serve as lead spokesperson for the administration, it was announced Friday.

The Governor’s Office also announced that Maggie Garbarino will serve as a new deputy press secretary.

The communications office will continue to be led by Mahen Gunaratna, the governor’s communications director.

Hamilton most recently served as deputy press secretary, handling a portfolio of various departments and issues, overseeing the governor’s television appearances, coordinating messaging for weather emergencies and managing a team of interns.

She first joined the Murphy team in 2019 as a communications intern, and later served as press intern during the 2021 gubernatorial campaign. After graduating magna cum laude in 2021 from the University of Delaware, she joined the administration full-time as a press assistant. In October 2023, she took a leave from the administration to serve as communications adviser to Brandon Presley’s gubernatorial campaign in Mississippi.

Murphy said she has had great impact in her various roles.

“Natalie has been an indispensable part of my team,” he said. “Her instincts and command of the issues, coupled with her unparalleled work ethic, will continue to serve her well in this new role. I have the utmost faith in her ability to carry our message as press secretary for my administration.”

Garbarino recently joined the governor’s communications office as a deputy press secretary, overseeing a portfolio that includes education, labor, children and families, military and veterans affairs and higher education.

For the past three years, Garbarino has served as the deputy press secretary for the New Jersey Assembly Democratic Majority Office. Prior to working for the state, she served as a public relations and social media specialist intern for the Lesniak Institute for American Leadership at Kean University.

Garbarino graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science and communications studies with a concentration in public relations from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

“Maggie will handle a portfolio of key issues, including education and labor,” Murphy said. “We’re happy to have her on board to help us continue communicating these groundbreaking policies to the public.”