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Governor’s chief of staff speaks to Rotary

May 30, 2014

BY JOSH PRESLEY
news@dailytimesleader.com

Lucien Smith, chief of staff for Gov. Phil Bryant, spoke at the West Point Rotary Club’s meeting Thursday at the Ritz.
Smith is a member of the Downtown Jackson Rotary and said it’s great to be able to speak at Rotary meetings because his job often keeps him from attending his own club’s meetings.
Smith, who has family in West Point and Starkville, said he jumps at any chance to visit the Golden Triangle. He spoke on his time as Bryant’s chief of staff, and the improvements he feels Bryant has made in his time as governor.
“I think we’re all used to people telling us everything wrong with our state,” Smith said. “I don’t think we spend nearly enough time talking about the things that are good about Mississippi.”
He said there is still work to be done, but that organizations like Rotary do a tremendous job in helping Mississippi move forward.
Smith said he got the call from Bryant in late 2011 asking him to serve as chief of staff, and was hesitant at first because he had already served for two years as budget adviser and legal counsel for then-Gov. Haley Barbour.
“I didn’t want to spend two more years working on a government staff instead of practicing in the private sector,” Smith said. “His offer was enticing, though, and I told him I would work for him, but I would leave after the second legislative session.”
He said the state legislature just finished its third legislative session, and he doesn’t intend to leave any time in the next few months. According to Smith, the main reason he’s chosen to stay this long is because he’s been impressed by Bryant’s actions and ideas.

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