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Hamburg native in line to be White House communications director

Mike Dubke, a Hamburg native and longtime behind-the-scenes Republican operative, is in line to become President Trump's communications director.

Dubke, a graduate of Hamburg High School, is the founder of Crossroads Media, which bills itself as "one of the major media placement firms on the national scene."

Crossroads is not  related to American Crossroads, a much better-known political operation founded by Karl Rove, a top adviser to former President George W. Bush.

The communications post is much less public than the job of White House press secretary. In past administrations, communications directors have been intimately involved in shaping and crafting the president's message through events and selected media appearances, but have not served as the president's spokesman.

Dubke also is the co-founder of Black Rock Group, a conservative public affairs shop he started with Carl Forti, another Buffalo-area native and longtime GOP political operative who once worked for former Republican Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds of Clarence in the National Republican Campaign Committee.

Forti said that Dubke, his partner since 2009, will bring a long history of political communication and crisis management to his new post.

“He is very skilled in what he does...which is selling the message,” Forti said. “The White House could use his perspective and long range vision.”

Reynolds described Dubke as a “consummate pro” who will fit the White House need for strategic communication.

“He’s done a lot of Senate and governor races and heads up a very good crisis communications structure,” the former congressman said.

Forti said the pair met at a St. Patrick’s Day party in Washington several years ago, compared their hometown connections, and hit it off. Through the years, they talked about starting a business, which they eventually named after Buffalo’s Black Rock neighborhood.

Dubke has since handled media for the campaigns of Alaska senators  Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski.

Through his Crossroads Media firm, Dubke  also handled campaign efforts for Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence.

As a result, Forti said Dubke has gained a reputation for his work in Washington circles and now gains the attention of the White House.

Following the pre-inauguration resignation of campaign communications director Jason Miller, Forti said the new administration has embarked on a serious search for a successor.

“He will give them something that’s lacking,” he said.

Forti said Dubke is 46 and has two children, one in college and the other a senior in high school. He has lived in the Washington area most of his life since graduating from Hamilton College. As a Buffalo Bills season ticket holder, he is a frequent visit to the area for home games at New Era Field.

Dubke's selection was a long time in coming.

Jason Miller, who was tapped to be White House communications director after playing a similar role in Trump's political campaign, quickly bowed out shortly after November's election, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Kellyanne Conway, who now serves as counselor to the president, turned the job down, and Politico reported earlier this month that at least two other people refused to take the job, too.
In the interim, White House press secretary Sean Spicer has been serving a dual role, filling in as communications director.

Dubke steps into the role four weeks after Trump's inauguration and a day after the president lambasted the media repeatedly during a 77-minute news conference.

Trump, in some ways, seems to be his own communications director, often reaching out to 25 million Twitter followers several times a day.

Dubke, in contrast, is a low-key political player with 161 Twitter followers and 30 tweets to his name.


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