Update 2:30 p.m. An Amazon spokesperson shared the following statement with GeekWire:
“Amazon’s public policy team works on a variety of issues on behalf of our customers in cities and states across the country. This work is ongoing and not related to our search for HQ2.”
Amazon has registered an energy policy lobbyist by the name of Jacob Oster with the Georgia State Capitol, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The report immediately set the rumor mill turning with cities across the continent watching Amazon closely for hints at where it might establish its $5 billion second corporate headquarters.
Oster has been with Amazon since July, when he left his gig as government affairs lead at the Seattle startup EnergySavvy. Before that, he spent several years working for Congressman Peter Welch.
Full coverage: Amazon to build second HQ in North America
It’s not clear what Oster will be working on in Georgia. Amazon already has several distribution centers and an Amazon Web Services hub in the state.
The Atlanta metro region is one of 238 cities bidding for Amazon HQ2, a project that promises to deliver 50,000 high-paying jobs to the winner. Atlanta is not revealing details of its pitch but Mayor Kasim Reed told the AJC it is “the most aggressive economic attraction package that the state of Georgia has ever put forward.”
Atlanta does have two key advantages in the HQ2 competition. It is home to Georgia Tech and 133,000 tech workers that could help fill Amazon’s talent needs. Atlanta is also a transportation hub with one of the top international airports.
Amazon plans to announce the winner of its second headquarters competition in 2018.