Rep. Cedric Richmond announces decision to serve in Biden White House; election to be held to fill his seat

Rep. Cedric Richmond announces decision to serve in Biden White House; election to be held to fill his seat
Congressman Cedric Richmond of New Orleans announces he will leave Congress to be a senior advisor and Director of Public Engagement in the Biden Administration. (Source: WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - He attended public elementary and high-schools, received degrees from Morehouse College and Tulane Law School, and now Congressman Cedric Richmond of New Orleans is heading to the White House as part of incoming President Joe Biden’s administration.

Richmond served as national co-chair of Biden’s campaign and now that Biden has been declared the winner of the presidential race by major news networks and newspapers Richmond is preparing to step down from his seat in Congress. He has served 10 years in Congress and was re-elected to another term on November 3.

At Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, Richmond made the announcement before dozens of friends, supporters, and elected officials that he will serve as a senior adviser, Assistant to the President, and Director of Public Engagement in the Biden White House.

“I’ve had to make one of the hardest decisions that I’ve made in my life,” said Richmond.

Richmond said he believes he can continue to help Louisiana in his new role although he wrestled with the decision to leave Congress where he has built up seniority.

“There’s no formula on earth that I would have left my seat in Congress after obtaining seniority, after becoming assistant to the [Democratic] Whip in leadership, after chairing the Congressional Black Caucus and being the current chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, if I did not think that this new role would serve Louisiana better than my past role,” said Richmond.

He will have the new president’s ear.

“This new role will allow me to offer advice to the president when he wants it, maybe sometimes when he doesn’t want it. I will also be in office in the West Wing and when you talk about the needs of Louisiana you want someone in the West Wing,” said Richmond.

He says he has already been speaking to Biden about Louisiana’s needs.

Mayor Latoya Cantrell said having Richmond close to the president can help the city and state.

“The relationships, the ties to this city will bode well as it relates to decisions that we need to move our city forward but also the state of Louisiana,” said Cantrell.

And as expected there are local politicians who are interested in succeeding Richmond on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Troy Carter serves in the Louisiana Legislature and is a former New Orleans City Councilman.

“Obviously, I’m very interested. I’ve served in public life for a very long time. The Congressman is a very dear friend of mine, today is his day, a day to celebrate his ascension to a very powerful post, one that will be very beneficial to us all and obviously, the 2nd Congressional District, his legacy has to go on,” said Carter.

New Orleans City Councilwoman-at-Large Helena Moreno is hearing calls for her to enter the race.

“I am very honored to be mentioned as one of the top candidates and to be receiving the support that I’m getting but I’m very happy where I am right now; due to the support I’m getting I will look at it,” said Moreno.

Cantrell said that even though a lot of people are asking the question, she will not run for Richmond’s seat.

“I do not have any plans in running myself,” said Cantrell.

Still, Cantrell will not sit on the sidelines as Richmond’s successor is chosen.

“I will play, I believe a role in selecting the next congressman or congresswoman to serve the city of New Orleans,” said Cantrell.

Richmond hopes his journey will inspire other young people to dream.

“I just want that next kid who is at Osborne or Livingston or any of our great New Orleans public schools that produced me and that my mother taught at for over 20 years to know that you can go from Osborne to the White House,” Richmond said to applause.

Richmond also said it is time for President Donald Trump to recognize Biden’s victory and engage in a full-fledged transition so that Biden and his administration are ready to handle the ongoing pandemic and other challenges the nation faces.

A spokeswoman for Governor John Bel Edwards said, "If a member of Congress leaves office, the Governor would have a discussion with that person and leaders in their Congressional district about the timing of the election. The date of the election determines the deadline for when the Governor would have to call it.”

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