BREAKING: Big Shuffle In Jindal’s Staff

Interesting news today.

First, the Governor’s Chief of Staff Stephen Waguespack is leaving office. Waguespack, who has been a Jindal insider almost since Day One, is leaving public office for a private-sector gig.

Paul Rainwater, Jindal’s current Commissioner of Administration, is moving over to Waguespack’s Chief of Staff position.

And Moving up to replace Rainwater is Kristy Nichols, who has been Waguespack’s deputy chief of staff.

What effect any of this will have on policy is difficult to determine. We’ll post updates as we come across them.

UPDATE: The official release from the administration…

Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced that Paul Rainwater will serve as Chief of Staff and Kristy Nichols will serve as the Commissioner of Administration.

Rainwater, who is currently serving as the Commissioner of Administration, will replace Stephen Waguespack, who is resigning to pursue opportunities in the private sector. Nichols will replace Rainwater at the Division of Administration. The changes become effective on October 15.

Governor Jindal said, “From the beginning of our work to build a better Louisiana, Stephen has been by my side as a trusted advisor and a friend. He helped shepherd through monumental policy reforms that will have a lasting and positive impact on our state. Stephen held multiple positions in the Governor’s Office and was always willing to step up to the plate to help our team. No matter the role he played, his focus remained the same – using every second of every day to help improve the lives of the people of Louisiana.

“I am excited for Paul to take on this new role. Paul has never shied away from a challenge. Indeed, he has taken on some of the toughest jobs in state government, including confronting our recent budget challenges. Paul has played a critical role in helping us right-size state government while protecting critical services for our people. I know he will continue to do a great job for the people of Louisiana in his new position.

“Kristy is going to do a great job as Commissioner of Administration. Kristy has been a critical part of the team since the beginning of the administration, and, like Stephen and Paul, she has always enthusiastically taken on a challenge. She led the reorganization of the Department of Children and Family Services to make the agency more efficient and effective for our people. As Commissioner, I know she will continue our mission to make state government less expensive and more effective for the people of Louisiana.”

Rainwater Biography

Paul Rainwater currently serves as the Commissioner of Administration. Before that, he served as Governor Jindal’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Prior to that, he served as Executive Director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA). Previously, Rainwater served as legislative director and chief of operations for U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu. From June 2006 to January 2007, he served as director of hazard mitigation and intergovernmental affairs at the LRA, where he managed program policies, served as team leader and coordinated with state and federal agencies to set mitigation priorities. From July 2000 to June 2006, Rainwater served as the Chief Administrative Officer for the city of Lake Charles.

Rainwater also formerly served as manager of governmental affairs for Conoco, Inc., Gulf Coast Business Unit in Baton Rouge from 1998 to July 2000; as manager of public affairs for ARCO Chemical in Lake Charles from 1995 to May 1998; and as administrative aide to the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury in Lake Charles from 1988 to 1996.

In addition to his public service duties, Rainwater also serves as a colonel with the Louisiana Army National Guard in the Joint Director of Military Support for Disaster Response Unit. He previously served as a lieutenant colonel in the Congressional Liaison Office of the Louisiana Army National Guard and as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army Reserves’ 336th Finance Command. For his military service, Rainwater has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and the Combat Action Badge.

Rainwater earned a bachelor’s degree in government from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, a master’s degree in international relations from Salve Regina University in Rhode Island, and is certified as a local government manager by Louisiana State University.

Nichols Biography

Kristy Nichols currently serves as the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Before that, Nichols led the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) through a reorganization to create a more efficient, effective agency that serves the holistic needs of clients, expedites service delivery, improves efficiencies to enhance client contact and better aligns the agency’s core mission to the public and the clients the agency serves.

During her first 18 months at DCFS, Nichols led the agency to develop a new disaster-sheltering plan, launched the nation’s only online pre-application process for disaster food stamps, revamped child and adult residential licensing, announced a plan to reform child care, oversaw a workforce development pilot program targeted at multiple populations, from adults on food stamps to the disabled and young adults exiting foster care. Additionally, Nichols is working with partner agencies to develop a new state system of care for children with behavioral health needs.

Nichols previously served as a policy advisor on health and social services initiatives to Governor Jindal. As a policy advisor, she worked on the successful passage of Governor Jindal’s health care legislative package during the 2008 legislative session, including legislation on mental health care reform, health care transparency initiatives, increasing health care technology, and increasing access to private health insurance for uninsured children. Previously, Nichols served as a policy advisor for Governor-elect Jindal’s transition team from November 2007 to January 2008.

From July 2002 to November 2007, Nichols served as the director of the Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health at the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH). During that time, Nichols led community-based Hurricane Katrina recovery planning and coalition building, resulting in more than $21 million in federal funding for restoring access to primary health care services in disaster-recovery areas and $50 million in federal funding for health care workforce development in disaster-recovery areas. Based on her work with DHH, she was a recipient of the 2006 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leadership Award. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the award recognizes outstanding individuals who overcome daunting odds to improve health and health care, especially to underserved populations in communities across the United States.

Nichols has a bachelor’s of administration in business from the University of Tennessee and a master’s in communication from the University of Louisiana in Lafayette. She also served as an instructor in the communications department at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette.

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