Nevers named governor-elect’s chief of staff

Published 8:52 am Wednesday, November 25, 2015

State Sen. Ben Nevers will serve as governor-elect John Bel Edwards’ chief of staff, Edwards announced Sunday afternoon.

Nevers, a resident of Bogalusa, represents State Senate District 12, which includes Washington Parish. He is a Democrat who was unable to run again due to term limits; his seat will be filled by Republican Beth Mizell.

Nevers will also oversee Edwards’ transition as governor.

“I have known Ben Nevers for years, and he has been great to work with in the legislature,” said Edwards, who will be the state’s first Democratic governor to win election since 2004. “I’m proud to have him leading this effort to make our government more responsible to the needs of the people and deliver on the commitments I made in this campaign.”

Nevers said the idea of serving as Edwards’ chief of staff had been discussed several days before Saturday’s election, but he obviously did not know for sure until Edwards proved victorious. He joined Edwards at the official announcement press conference Sunday afternoon.

“It’s quite an honor and a privilege to consider to serve the people of this state,” Nevers said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to find solutions to the problems that are facing Louisiana. It’s exciting, but it’s also a very difficult time.”

As chief of staff, Nevers will handle a wide range of duties in Edwards’ administration. In addition to helping to manage and oversee employees in the governor’s office, he will also speak on the governor’s behalf anytime that Edwards is not available to speak at a function.

“It’s a huge challenge and I’m humbled to have been given this opportunity,” he said.

Currently, Nevers is overseeing the transition period, as the Edwards administration works to replace the outgoing administration of Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal. Nevers will work with members of Jindal’s team, as well as employees in the new Edwards administration, to ensure a smooth changeover.

“Certainly one of my responsibilities will be to delegate routine matters to our staff,” he said. “I’ll help to outline reports detailing what milestones and guidelines will have to be met as we move toward inauguration in January.”

Nevers said that Edwards has made it a priority to create an administration with representatives from every region in Louisiana.

“We need people that understand the rural areas, as well as the urban,” he said. “The governor wants a diverse group of people from every geographic area, that will serve the needs of all the people of our great state.”