Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s spokeswoman Donna Tommelleo will be moving over to the state Insurance Department on Jan. 5 where she will become its communications director.

Tommelleo, who joined the Rell’s communications team in 2008, spent the bulk of career in a newsroom with more than 14 years at the Associated Press and more than a decade at other newspapers in the state.

The Insurance Department, which was taken by surprise when Commissioner Thomas Sullivan abruptly resigned on Nov. 1, has increasingly become the subject of public scrutiny as consumers worry about the impact federal health care reform will have on insurance rates. Sullivan resigned before the public hearing on a proposed 20 percent rate increase for some Anthem customers. That rate increase was denied by acting Insurance Commissioner Barbara Spear.

“It was an honor to work here with the governor and I look forward to a new professional opportunity,” Tommelleo said Wednesday.

Tommelleo is the first of the governor’s communications staff to receive another job in state government.