Tuesday, Dec. 12

Gov. Blagojevich names Sheila Nix and Louanner Peters deputy governors for his second term          Send a link to a friend

After serving governor through first term, Deputy Gov. Bradley Tusk returning to East Coast to work in the private sector

[DEC. 12, 2006]  CHICAGO -- On Monday, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich named Sheila Nix, his former senior adviser and deputy campaign manager, and Louanner Peters, previously his deputy chief of staff for social services and deputy campaign manager, as deputy governors effective Dec. 15. Current Deputy Gov. Bradley Tusk plans to return to his hometown of New York City for a position in the private sector.

"I feel very fortunate to have such bright and talented people eager to help me move the state of Illinois in the right direction," Blagojevich said. "Sheila Nix, Louanner Peters and Bradley Tusk are three of the most dedicated, capable people I know, and all have been important assets to my administration over the last four years. I want to thank Bradley for his hard work, and particularly for helping shepherd through three major initiatives that set Illinois apart from [the] rest of the country: All Kids, Open Road Tolling and Preschool for All. Every child in Illinois now has access to health care and preschool, and no one with an I-Pass has to stop at a tollbooth. And I know that Sheila and Louanner have the skills and the dedication to help us build on those major achievements for the people of our state in the four years ahead."

Nix will be based in Chicago and will oversee the administration's policy, legislative affairs and communications efforts, while Peters will be based in Springfield and will oversee public safety and social service programs and operations. Blagojevich is not the first to name two deputy governors; in 2000, Katherine D. Selcke and Dr. Hazel Loucks simultaneously held the position under Gov. George Ryan, with Selcke concentrating on programs and policy and Loucks focusing on education.

Sheila Nix brings years of experience from state and U.S. government to the position. She joined the Blagojevich administration in September 2004 as senior adviser to the governor. In April of this year, Nix left the state post to be the deputy campaign manager for policy and communications for Blagojevich's re-election campaign. In her tenure with the Blagojevich administration, she oversaw the majority of the governor's women's health policies. She spearheaded the adoption and implementation of the governor's emergency rule that requires every pharmacy in Illinois that sells contraceptives to accept and fill all birth control prescriptions without delay.

"I am excited to get to work and implement the goals the governor put forward during the campaign," Nix said. "We want to expand on our successes with All Kids to make affordable health care available to all Illinoisans. We want to pass the capital bill so that Illinois schools get the money they need to update and refurbish their resources. And we want to focus on our children's education; they are our future and our number one priority. Bradley has left big shoes to fill, but I look forward to the challenge and thank the governor for his confidence in my abilities."

Before joining the administration, Nix served as chief of staff to Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida from 2000 to 2003. From 1992 to 1999, she served in Sen. Bob Kerrey's administration as chief of staff and legislative director. She also worked on Bob Kerrey's presidential campaign in 1991 and 1992. Nix earned her bachelor's degree from Creighton University and later her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

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Louanner Peters brings years of public service to the position, as well as a strong background in directing social services operations. As the governor's deputy chief of staff for social services, Peters oversaw the state's social service agencies, including the departments of Human Services, Healthcare and Family Services, Children and Family Services, Public Health, Veterans' Affairs, Human Rights, and Aging. Most recently Louanner served as deputy campaign manager on Blagojevich's re-election campaign.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to play a direct role in helping Governor Blagojevich fulfill his agenda for his second term, especially his goals for making state government more efficient and responsive to the people it serves," Peters said. "Making those kinds of changes will enable us [to] fulfill the governor's campaign promise of bringing affordable health care to everyone in this state that needs it. As the governor said election night, ‘We have a lot more to do for the hardworking people of our state,' and I am excited to be on board."

Before beginning her tenure under Blagojevich, Peters served for 10 years on Capitol Hill as the chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Gus Savage and as a professional staff member to the U.S. House Committee on Public Works. In addition to the governor's campaign, Louanner worked on campaigns for U.S. Reps. Bobby Rush and Gus Savage as well as Mayors Marion Barry and Anthony Williams in Washington, D.C. Outside her political experience, Peters chaired the board of directors of the Washington Convention Authority and consulted for the U.S. Department of Defense on their Breast Cancer Research Program. Peters received her bachelor's degree in political science from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and a master's in social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Bradley Tusk has served as deputy governor for the past four years. He has effectively overseen the development and implementation of the administration's policies, budget, legislative agenda and communications efforts, which have resulted in some of the most progressive state initiatives in the nation.

"The great thing about Governor Blagojevich is that he has the vision and courage to try to do big things, and time after time, he turns that vision into programs that have helped millions of people. It has been an honor and a privilege to be part of that team and part of that effort," said Bradley Tusk.

[News release from the governor's office]

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