NEW ORLEANS — Rep. Cedric Richmond. D-Louisiana announced he is taking a job with President-Elect Joe Biden’s administration, trading his seat in congress for an office in the West Wing.
Richmond will be a senior advisor to the president and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
The New Orleans Democrat said he is taking a position where he can do more for the people of Louisiana and other southern states with similar problems, including poverty, poor health outcomes- and ineffective public education.
“This new role will allow me to offer advice to the president when he wants it, maybe sometimes when he doesn’t want it,” Richmond said. “I will also be in an office in the West Wing. When you talk about the needs of Louisiana you want someone in the West Wing.:
Richmond was first elected to Louisiana’s Second Congressional District seat in 2010.
The 47-year-old former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus was one of the first high profile supporters of the president elect, serving as Biden’s national campaign co-chair.
He talked about being an example for young people in New Orleans.
“You can go from Osborne (Elementary) to the White House,” Richmond said. “I’m not going as president, but I’m going as the president’s friend.”
Richmond said it’s time for President Donald Trump to concede the race.
“I fully expect an orderly transition,” Richmond said. “He is having a hard time coming to grasp with the real facts and not alternative facts that the election is over.”
Congressman Richmond says he will play an active role in choosing his successor. Right now, the special election is scheduled for March with a runoff in April.
Some possible candidates were at Richmond’s news conference Tuesday morning at Lakefront Airport.
They included City Council Member Helena Moreno and State Senators Troy Carter, Jimmy Harris and Cleo Fields.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said she won’t be running for the seat.
“I love my job and I want to continue to serve the city in this capacity,” Cantrell said.
The mayor congratulated Richmond on his new job.
“I think it’s tremendous for the city of New Orleans to have our congressional leader go into an upcoming and new administration,” Cantrell said. “I think it would bode very well for the city of New Orleans and state of Louisiana.”
U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, hasn’t acknowledged Biden’s victory, but said he’s pleased with Biden’s selection of Richmond for his administration.
“His position in the West Wing would obviously give him influence that would allow him to present issues that are important to the people of Louisiana, a perspective that may otherwise not be heard by that administration,” Cassidy said.
Richmond plans to resign in January, just before Biden takes office.
“A politician worries about the next election,” Richmond said. “A statesman worries about the next generation. When I had to decide what I wanted to be, I decided I wanted to be a statesman and worry about the next generation of kids coming from New Orleans.”
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards also congratulated Richmond for his new position in the Biden White House.
“I appreciate his partnership during his time in Congress, especially as Louisiana has battled natural disasters and, now, a pandemic,” Edwards said in a written statement. “Though I know his constituents will miss him, his voice, and his advocacy, having a Louisianan in such a prominent role will be good for our state and our people. I look forward to working with him and working with President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris to address the needs of Louisianans and move our state forward.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.