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Taunton native David Simas takes on elevated White House role

President  Obama walked with David Simas at a NATO Summit in Lisbon, Portugal in 2010. Simas is of Portuguese descent.

Pete Souza/White House

President Obama walked with David Simas at a NATO Summit in Lisbon, Portugal in 2010. Simas is of Portuguese descent.

WASHINGTON –David Simas, a Taunton native and former presidential and gubernatorial aide, is taking on an elevated role at the White House as President Obama enters his second term.

Simas, who oversaw much of the polling and focus groups during Obama’s reelection campaign, will be assistant to the president and deputy senior adviser for communications and strategy.

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The news comes on a day when the White House announced a series of position changes, including a new chief of staff, Denis McDonough.

In an interview with the Globe earlier this month, Simas ruled out being a candidate for either an interim Senate appointment or a gubernatorial candidate in 2014.

“I am committed to being here for the next couple of years,” Simas said. “I am here, physically and mentally.”

Simas, a former member of Taunton’s School Committee and City Council, was tapped by Governor Deval Patrick in 2007 to be his deputy chief of staff. Patrick later recommended Simas for a job at the White House, where Simas worked as a top aide to David Axelrod, who has been a strategist for both Patrick and Obama.

In 2011, when Simas traveled with President Obama to Portugal – where Simas’ parents emigrated from -- the president introduced him to the media.

“David’s family is watching,’’ said Obama. “This is my friend David Simas.’’

Simas has quickly made a name for himself in Democratic circles, in both Massachusetts and in Washington, which led to speculation that he might run for office. But after moving his family several times – from Massachusetts to Washington to Chicago and back to Washington – he has been eager to stay put for several years.

“We just got back five weeks ago from eight days in Disney World,” Simas told the Globe earlier this month. “That’s probably the only thing that’s more exhausting than an 18-month presidential campaign.”

Matt Viser can be reached at maviser@globe.com.
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