Four weeks after his stunning upset in the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s race, Andrew Warren has announced his first two hires to his incoming administration, and one of them is a fellow Democrat who was on the ballot last month.
Rena Upshaw-Frazier, a partner at Quarrels and Brady and a candidate who lost in her bid to defeat Ross Spano in the House District 59 race last month, will serve as the chief of policy and communications, while attorney Gary Weisman will serve as Warren’s chief of staff.
“I am thrilled to have these two remarkable attorneys join our team,” Warren said on Tuesday. “Rena and Gary share my vision of criminal justice and my commitment to public service. They will fit in well with the dedicated and talented team of attorneys and staff as we work to make our community safer and our system more fair.”
The 38-year-old Frazier has practiced law in the Tampa area for the past twelve years, focusing on commercial and real estate litigation. A USF and Stetson Law School graduate, Frazier stepped into the spotlight earlier this year by taking on Spano in the HD 59 race in Eastern Hillsborough County. Warren says that in her new role, Frazier will serve several functions, including being the public information officer, communications director, and community outreach coordinator for the office, as well as act as a senior policy advisor to Warren.
“I’m proud to join this team and work with State Attorney-elect Warren to bring our community together,” Frazier said. “This is an opportunity to make our system more effective and fair while making our neighborhoods safer. I’m excited to help lead that effort.”
As Chief of Staff, the 42-year-old Weisman will provide leadership and management for the day to day operation of the office, assist the State Attorney in legislative affairs and government relations, and act as a senior policy advisor. Previously, Weisman operated his own civil litigation law firm which focused on insurance-related matters.
“Gary is an exceptional attorney who will be a critical asset not just in handling the complicated administration of a 300+ person office but also in providing strategic planning for our mission,” Warren said.
Weisman has practiced law in the Tampa area for the past 15 years. He graduated from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and Florida State University School of Law.
“Hillsborough is fortunate to have some of the state’s best prosecutors ready to work for its citizens,” Weisman said. “We can’t be afraid to take on tough cases and go after the truly dangerous and destructive criminals. I’m ready to join this exceptional office to help make our community safe.”
When he officially takes over in January, Warren will be working with a large staff, many of whom backed his opponent, 16-year incumbent Mark Ober, in last month’s election.