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Bryant names new chief of staff as current chief leaves

JACKSON — Joey Songy will be Gov. Phil Bryant’s new chief of staff as the Republican begins his second term.

Bryant announced Monday that Lucien Smith, who has served as his chief of staff since December 2013, will leave the administration to become a private lawyer. Smith declined through Bryant spokesman Clay Chandler to say where he planned to work.

Songy will take over the post Jan. 13, the day after Bryant is sworn in for a second term. Chandler said Songy will make $110,000 a year, the same amount Smith makes now.

The 31-year-old now serves as policy director, having previously served as policy adviser and counsel. Before joining the Bryant administration, the 2010 graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law was a lawyer in his own firm.

“Joey’s grasp of complex issues and tireless work ethic make him a natural successor to Lucien as my next chief of staff,” Bryant said in a statement. “He has proven himself an able and honorable public servant, and I’m delighted that someone of his ability will continue to serve the people of Mississippi.”

Smith served from 2011 as deputy chief of staff and policy director, taking over the chief of staff post when Kirk Sims left in 2013 to manage U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran’s re-election campaign.

Smith ran unsuccessfully for state treasurer in 2011, serving as a budget adviser to Gov. Haley Barbour in 2010 and 2011. He also previously worked for the Jackson office of Alabama-based law firm Balch and Bingham and served as a law clerk to Judge Rhesa Hawkins Barksdale of the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

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