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Roger Salazar, a former spokesman for President Bill Clinton and Gov. Gray Davis, is leaving Mercury Public Affairs to open his own firm. Mercury separately announced today hiring two new staff for its Sacramento office.

Salazar's new firm, Alza Strategies, will provide media relations, crisis communication and public affairs services to clients that want to reach California's Latino market. The Legislature's Latino Caucus Leadership PAC and the Agua Caliente Indian tribe are among Alza's clients, Salazar said.

"'Alza' is Spanish for 'rise,'" Salazar said in a statement announcing his firm. "With California's economy, Latino population and political clout on the rise, Alza hopes to similarly raise the level of media communications on behalf of clients who want to tap into this market."

Also today, Mercury Public Affairs announced hiring Carolyn Becker, a former executive producer at KCRA, and Argelia León, who specializes in Spanish language media. Becker will be a senior vice president at Mercury and León will be a director.

"Carolyn and Argelia will give our clients an even broader and more diverse set of ideas, tactics and initiatives," Mercury partner Adam Mendelsohn said in a statement.

PHOTO: Sacramento County Sheriff candidate Capt. Jim Cooper gets campaign results from his campaign manager Roger Salazar in June 2010. The Sacramento Bee/Renee C. Byer



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