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Date:October 12, 2007
Contact:Public Relations @ (225) 342-3035

Governor Blanco congratulates Labor Secretary John Warner Smith on his new position, thanks him for his work

BATON ROUGE – Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco today announced that John Warner Smith will be leaving his position as secretary of the Louisiana Department of Labor to accept the position of Chief Executive Officer of Next Horizon, a newly established nonprofit organization whose mission is to reform public education in Louisiana.

“I would like to thank Sec. Smith for his exceptional dedication to the people of Louisiana,” Governor Blanco said. “As head of the Labor Department, his knowledge and talent have enabled the agency to readily assist both workers and businesses throughout the state. The agency faced an unprecedented challenge following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and I commend Sec. Smith and his staff for not only accepting that challenge, but doing everything in their power to aid our citizens. I am certain he will be just as successful in his position with Next Horizon.”

“John Warner Smith’s great leadership strengths of connecting people and turning ideas into action are the strengths we sought for the CEO of Next Horizon,” said Dr. Phillip Rozeman, cofounder and chairman of the board of Next Horizon. “Our board of community leaders from across the state believes education excellence will require the connection of business, government and education leaders around a common vision. We are fortunate to have John help take us there.”

“I thank Gov. Blanco for giving me the opportunity to lead the Labor Department,” Sec. Smith said. “The people I have worked with met great challenges with great ease, and it was truly an honor and a privilege to serve with them. The work I will be doing at Next Horizon has been a passion of mine for many years and I am excited to embark on the challenge.”

Gov. Blanco will announce a replacement in the coming weeks for Sec. Smith, whose last day with the Louisiana Department of Labor will be Friday, Nov. 2.

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