Governor Bryant Announces Senior Staff Change

Joey Songy to Succeed Lucien Smith as Chief of Staff

Gov. Phil Bryant today designated Joey Songy to serve as his second-term chief of staff. Songy succeeds Lucien Smith, who has served as Gov. Bryant’s chief of staff since 2013 and today announced his intention to return to the private practice of law at the end of the first term.

“Lucien has been an invaluable part of my administration, and though his departure is a great loss, I am grateful for his service,” Gov. Bryant said. “His dedication to his home state has been evident as he worked faithfully every day and many nights to improve Mississippi. I know he will achieve total success in his next endeavor. He has earned it.”

“Helping lead Gov. Bryant’s team for the last four years has been an extraordinary honor,” Smith said. “The governor’s leadership on education reform and his relentless dedication to economic development have made Mississippi a better place. I’m confident the team we have put in place for the second term will continue to serve the governor and the state well, and I will look forward to continuing to assist and advise from the private sector.”

Smith joined Gov. Bryant’s staff as deputy chief of staff and policy director during the transition in December 2011. He was appointed chief of staff in December 2013 and is coordinating the transition to Gov. Bryant’s second term. Previously, he was legal counsel and budget adviser to former Gov. Haley Barbour and served as a law clerk to Judge Rhesa Hawkins Barksdale of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Smith and his wife, Bethany, live in Jackson and are expecting their first child in March.

Songy will succeed Smith as chief of staff on Jan. 13, the day after Gov. Bryant is sworn in for a second term. Songy has held the positions of policy adviser, counsel, and most recently, policy director in Gov. Bryant’s administration. While policy adviser, his portfolio included economic development, public finance, revenue, workforce and technology. Prior to joining Gov. Bryant’s administration, Songy practiced law in the private sector.

“Joey’s grasp of complex issues and tireless work ethic make him a natural successor to Lucien as my next chief of staff,” Gov. Bryant said. “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.”

“This opportunity to help lead the remarkable team Gov. Bryant has selected for his second term is truly humbling,” Songy said. “I am honored to serve the people of Mississippi in this role.”

Songy is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration. He earned his law degree from the University of Mississippi. He and his wife, Kate, live in Jackson and they have one child, Joseph.

Gov. Phil Bryant Press Release
1/4/16