U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond announced today that before January 20th he will resign as a member of Congress to become a senior adviser to President-Elect Joe Biden.

“This new role will allow me to give advice to the President when he wants it, maybe sometimes when he doesn’t want it,” said Richmond.

Richmond says he’ll have an office in the West Wing and he says he’ll fight to bring much-needed federal resources to Louisiana.

“If we’re going to improve the lives of the people Louisiana then it’s going to come from investing into their lives.  That’s going to take real resources and real money, and things that we don’t have here.”

The 47-year-old was first elected to Congress in 2010 after serving as a state representative in the Louisiana Legislature. He says it was not an easy decision to leave Congress after he was just re-elected to a sixth term.

“I do want you to know that I’m not leaving the people of Louisiana, I am not leaving the people of the second congressional district, I am New Orleans through and through and I bleed black and gold.”

Governor John Bel Edwards will call for a special election to fill Richmond’s seat. He congratulated Richmond on the news via press release:

Congratulations to Congressman Cedric Richmond on his new role in President-elect Joe Biden’s White House. I appreciate his partnership during his time in Congress, especially as Louisiana has battled natural disasters and, now, a pandemic. 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. I will consult with Congressman Richmond about the timing of his resignation from Congress and with the Secretary of State and other leaders in his district about the best time for a special election to fill his seat when it is vacant.

The vacancy is expected to draw a number of candidates.

Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy says he's “pleased for Louisiana” that a person from the state will have an influential role in the West Wing.

Biden has announced top White House staff positions, drawing from the senior ranks of his campaign and some of his closest confidants. In addition to promoting his campaign co-chair Richmond, Biden confirmed that former campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon will serve as a deputy chief of staff and campaign adviser Steve Ricchetti will hold senior roles in the new administration.

The new hires represent an initial wave of what will ultimately be hundreds of new White House aides hired in the coming weeks. The latest round reflects his pledge to have diversity in his staff — the team includes four people of color and five women.

(Story written by Kevin Barnhart/Louisiana Radio Network & KEVIN McGILL, STEVE PEOPLES, BILL BARROW and ALEXANDRA JAFFE of the AP)