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GOP Operatives: Maria Cino GOP Operatives: Maria Cino

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GOP Operatives: Maria Cino

President & CEO Of The RNC

Cino thought she had arrived at her moment in politics by the end of sixth grade. At the invitation of her teacher, a precinct leader, she made phone calls and handed out pamphlets for the campaign of New York's Republican governor, Nelson Rockefeller. On one cold and rainy night, she looked up as a man, dressed in a familiar trench coat, stepped onto the volunteers' bus. "When you look up and see it is Governor Rockefeller, you think that you have made it!" she said.


Cino, of course, had a bit more ground to cover in politics. In high school, for example, she met Bill Paxon, who would later become a Republican congressman from New York while she became his chief of staff and then, in 1993, his executive director on the National Republican Congressional Committee. In 1999, Cino became one of the first employees of the Bush for President Committee, for which she was the national political director; from 2003 to '04, she was the deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee. Within the executive branch, she became the assistant secretary and director general of the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service at the Commerce Department in 2001. In 2005, she joined the Transportation Department as deputy secretary.

Since March 2007, Cino has put her formidable organizational skills to work as the president and CEO of the 2008 Republican National Convention. Cognizant of the fundraising challenges posed by the long primary season and the new ethics rules, she paid close attention to her bottom line. She chose office space, for example, that was six blocks from the convention hall and could be rented incrementally, as staff arrived to fill it. Cino is enjoying the Twin Cities, but when September 4 has passed and the last revelers and planners have departed, she plans to decamp to New Orleans for a vacation spent baby-sitting her god-daughters.

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