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Exclusive: Second lady's chief of staff departs for Hill job

The second lady's chief of staff is leaving the White House for a job down Pennsylvania Avenue to reunite with a good friend from college.

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Javier De Diego
Jamie Gangel (CNN)
(CNN) — The second lady's chief of staff is leaving the White House for a job down Pennsylvania Avenue to reunite with a good friend from college.

Karen Pence's top adviser, Kristan King Nevins, is leaving the administration this week to head up the office of Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, CNN has learned. The two first met at Texas A&M University, when Nevins worked on Hurd's campaign for student body president.

"The congressman and I have known each other for nearly two decades, starting at Texas A&M University and continuing with our service in the intelligence community," Nevins told CNN.

"It has been a privilege to support Mrs. Pence in her transition this past year from Indiana's first lady to second lady of the United States. My time serving as her chief of staff and on the vice president's senior team has been an incredible honor," she said.

News of her exit comes as no surprise to the second couple, according to several sources, who say Nevins agreed to take the job for just one year to help launch and organize the issues near and dear to Mrs. Pence's heart.

"Kristan Nevins has played an invaluable role as my chief of staff during our first year in office," Karen Pence said in a statement to CNN.

"I appreciate the professionalism and integrity she demonstrated throughout her service and she will be missed," she added. "I will always be grateful for the foundation Kristan laid in the Office of the Second Lady and wish her success in her new role on Capitol Hill. I look forward to announcing my new chief of staff in the coming days."

When Nevins took the job with the second lady, it was a return to a similar role she held a few years ago. The Texas native served as former first lady Barbara Bush's chief of staff during her son, George W. Bush's, presidency.

A Washington veteran, Nevins has also worked on the White House's national security staff, as well as at the State Department and at the CIA, when President Barack Obama was in office.

"I am excited to return to my passion, national security, as Congressman Hurd's chief of staff," said Nevins.

Hurd, who is a two-term congressman from the San Antonio area, is on the House Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees.

"Kristan is a great fit to take over as chief of staff. She has a passion for public service, has a tremendous background in national security and will proudly represent the constituents of the 23rd District of Texas," Hurd told CNN.

Nevins last day at the White House is Friday and will start her new chief of staff job on Capitol Hill on Monday.

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