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Gov. Walker discusses the 2013-15 state budget

Gov. Scott Walker talks with Wisconsin State Journal reporters about his vetoes to the 2013-2015 state budget in his state Capitol office in Madison on Friday. In the background are the governor's spokeswoman, Jocelyn Webster, and chief of staff, Eric Schutt.

Gov. Scott Walker’s chief of staff Eric Schutt, who has been a top aide for the governor since he took office in 2011, is leaving his post.

Schutt is leaving the governor’s office “to pursue other opportunities and to spend more time with family,” a statement on staff position changes said.

Deputy chief of staff and former legislator Rich Zipperer will take Schutt’s place on Sept. 4, the statement said.

“I’d like to express my sincerest gratitude to Eric,” Walker said in a statement. “He will be greatly missed. Eric has always displayed great integrity and strength in leadership and is an inspiring force for all of us, as we work to transform our vision to reality.

“He is highly-respected, solution-oriented, and a great example of what it means to be an exceptional leader. We were lucky to have him on our team since I was first elected governor.”

Before he was added to the governor’s staff, Schutt worked as a lobbyist for UnitedHealth Group and for the American Cancer Society.

Before that, Schutt worked as chief of staff for two Republican lawmakers, worked on Republican campaigns and worked as the state Republican Party’s executive director in 2002.

Since Walker began campaigning for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, he has relied heavily on Schutt to handle day-to-day matters in the governor’s office, a number of Republican sources have told the State Journal.

A phone message left for Schutt was not returned Thursday.

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Molly Beck covers politics and state government for the Wisconsin State Journal.