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Pennsylvania’s Former Acting Secretary of Education
Eric Hagarty joins Mercury
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Mercury, a bipartisan high-stakes public strategy firm, today announced that Eric Hagarty is joining the firm’s Pennsylvania office as Managing Director. Most recently, Hagarty was Pennsylvania’s Acting Secretary of Education. He previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Tom Wolf.
“Eric Hagarty has spent his career serving the people of Pennsylvania and knows what it takes to get things accomplished,” said Mercury Partner Michael Soliman, who leads the Pennsylvania and New Jersey offices. “His experience and ability to forge consensus are great additions to our team and will be huge assets to our clients.”
As Acting Secretary, Hagarty helped secure historic increases in education funding and oversaw critical initiatives that benefitted teachers and the 1.7 million students in the commonwealth. Serving as the Chief Executive of the Department of Education, a $22 billion organization with more than 600 employees and contractors, Hagarty oversaw Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts, more than 170 public charter schools, early childhood education programs, community colleges and the State Library of Pennsylvania, among other public, academic, and school libraries.
“It’s been an honor for me to serve the people of Pennsylvania and I look forward to continue making meaningful change in the world by using that experience to help clients strategize and achieve successful results,” said Hagarty. “I am excited to start the next chapter of my career by joining the talented team at Mercury.”
Prior to his appointment to lead the Department of Education, Hagarty spent six years as Governor Wolf’s Deputy Chief of Staff overseeing strategic priorities in the health care, human services, education, transportation, and infrastructure sectors. He previously served as the Chief of Staff at Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development. In addition to his highly-regarded career serving the people of the commonwealth, Hagarty has worked as a campaign manager and finance director on several successful political campaigns.
Hagarty earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics and Political Science from the University of Washington.
Former Member of Democratic House Leadership Will Head Mercury’s Team in Illinois and Co-Chair the D.C. Office
NEW YORK, NY (January 23, 2023) – Mercury, a leading global, bipartisan public strategy firm, today announced that former United States Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., has joined the firm as Co-Chair. As a former senior member of House leadership with a long career in both the public and private sectors, Bustos brings decades of experience in politics, journalism, healthcare and communications to Mercury and a long track record of success and accomplishments in each. Serving as the head of Mercury’s team in Illinois and Co-Chair of the Washington, D.C., office, Bustos will divide her time between operations in Chicago, Springfield and Washington, D.C.
“I’ve spent decades solving complicated problems and working to build consensus both in and out of government, and I am thrilled to bring that experience to one of the top bipartisan public strategy firms in America,” Bustos said. “I look forward to using my skills and experience in communications and journalism, as well as my legislative and political background, to provide strategy and value to clients across various sectors.”
While representing Illinois’ 17th Congressional District for the past 10 years, Bustos held powerful roles in leadership, serving as Co-Chair of the Steering and Policy Committee during her past term in Congress; Co-Chairing the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee for two years, playing a key role in Democrats taking the majority and chairing the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee. Bustos served on the House Committee on Agriculture for her full tenure in office; six years on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and four years on the House Appropriations Committee. While on the House Appropriations Committee, she served on some of the most powerful subcommittees: Defense; Labor, Health and Human Services and Education; Energy and Water; and Military Construction and Veterans Administration.
Outside of her public service work, Bustos has helped advance the next generation of Democratic leaders, protecting the Democratic House majority in the 2020 election cycle as Chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). In that role, she helped raise a record-breaking one-third of a billion dollars for the organization. Additionally, Bustos is the founder of Build the Bench, a program focused on identifying and training individuals interested in running for office at all levels. Since its inception, the program has trained more than 400 participants, and its graduates have run for office with a greater than 50 percent success rate. Cheri is also a Founding Board Member of Elect Democratic Women, which raised close to $10 million in the 2022 Election.
“Cheri’s electoral track record and her experience in communications and journalism make her a natural fit for consulting on public strategy and achieving outcomes for our clients,” Mercury CEO Kieran Mahoney said. “Cheri has a stellar reputation and has achieved success at every step of her career, and we are excited to have someone of her caliber join our leadership team in Washington and help us grow in Illinois and nationally.”
“We are beyond thrilled to start the year by welcoming Cheri to Mercury, where she will help lead our firm in providing exceptional public strategy to clients,” Former Congressman Toby Moffett, D-Conn., said. ”As former Members of Congress, Cheri and I share a common goal to use our experience to solve problems, build consensus and focus on the issues that matter most to each of us, and Mercury provides us with that unique opportunity.”
Prior to her decade in Washington, Bustos worked as Vice President of Corporate Communications for UnityPoint Health, the fifth largest nondenominational health system in America. In this role, she managed communications for a $3.2 billion health system in two states, including 20 hospitals, clinics, home care services, colleges, and a rural health network. Before that, Bustos served as a reporter and editor for the Quad-City Times for 17 years, covering healthcare, crime, city hall and the Illinois State Legislature.
In addition to co-chairing the D.C. office, Bustos will help lead Mercury’s client-relations and business growth throughout the State of Illinois and the Midwest. She joins a powerful network of leading Democrats known for their effectiveness at the firm, including Ashley Walker, the 2012 State Director for Obama for America in Florida; Jordan Kaplan, the former Chief Development Officer for the Obama Foundation; former Reps. Toby Moffett, D-Conn., and Joe Garcia, D-Fla.; and recently added team members, Michael Hardaway, a former top advisor to House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-NY; and Andy Vargas, longtime aide to Vice President Kamala Harris.
Mercury is a high-stakes, bipartisan public strategy firm. The firm provides a comprehensive suite of services that includes federal government relations, international affairs, digital influence, public opinion research, media strategy and a bipartisan grassroots mobilization network in all 50 states. Our firm is not just led by top talent — we distinguish ourselves by having senior talent deeply engaged in each project from start to finish, a promise we keep to clients. The firm has U.S. offices in Washington, D.C., New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Montana, Texas and South Carolina. Mercury is a part of the Omnicom Public Relations Group.
About Omnicom Public Relations Group
Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and specialist agencies in areas including public affairs, language strategy, global health strategy and change management. As the largest group of communications professionals in the world, our employees provide expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and nonprofits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group delivers for clients through a relentless focus on talent, continuous pursuit of innovation and a culture steeped in collaboration. Omnicom Public Relations Group is part of the Communications Consultancy Network, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC).