CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today named Sheila Nix, his former senior advisor and deputy campaign manager, and Louanner Peters, previously his deputy chief of staff for social services and deputy campaign manager, as Deputy Governors effective December 15. Current Deputy Governor 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. 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 rest of the country: All Kids, Open Road Tolling and Preschool for All. Every child in Illinois now has access to healthcare and preschool, and no one with an I-Pass has to stop at a toll booth. 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,” said Governor Blagojevich.
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. Governor Blagojevich is not the first to name two deputy governors; in 2000 under Gov. George Ryan, Katherine D. Selcke and Dr. Hazel Loucks simultaneously held the position 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. Nix joined the Blagojevich administration in September 2004 as senior advisor to the Governor. In April of this year, Nix left the state to be the deputy campaign manager for policy and communications for Governor 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. 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,” said Sheila Nix.
Before joining the administration, Nix served as Chief of Staff to Senator Bill Nelson of Florida from 2000 to 2003. From 1992 to 1999, Nix served in Senator 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 BS from Creighton University and later her JD from the University of Chicago Law School.
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 Governor Blagojevich’s reelection 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. Making those kinds of changes will enable us 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 hard-working people of our state,’ and I am excited to be on board,” said Peters.
Before beginning her tenure under Governor Blagojevich, Peters served for 10 years on Capitol Hill as the Chief of Staff for U.S. Representative 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. Representatives Bobby Rush and Gus Savage as well as Mayors Marion Barry and Anthony Williams in Washington, D.C. Outside her political experience, Peters was as a Chairperson for the Board of Directors of the Washington Convention Authority and consulted the U.S. Department of Defense on their Breast Cancer Research Program. Peters received her B.A. in Political Science from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and an M.A. of 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 that 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.