Original Posted 10/22/2022 on Nola.com by Tyler Bridges
When John Bel Edwards expanded Medicaid on his first day as governor, Matthew Block helped craft the details as his executive counsel.
Over the past six years, Block has continued to play a vital role for Edwards – helping the governor navigate hurricanes, the pandemic, the budget crises he inherited, getting bills through the Republican-majority Legislature, the redistricting process earlier this year and countless other issues.
Block, 49, announced Wednesday that he is stepping down to resume practicing law in Thibodaux.
“I just felt it was the right time,” Block said in an interview. “It’s been the best job I ever had. I appreciated every minute of it. But I’ve missed a lot of stuff with my family and kids. I want to be sure I’m around for them, too.”
Block has carried out his work behind-the-scenes, his influence known only to Capitol insiders. He has never sought the limelight.
“This is truly bittersweet for me and our team,” Edwards said in a statement. “Matthew has been a crucial member of my senior staff since I first became Governor. He has had a hand in every accomplishment and every bit of the tremendous progress we have made in moving Louisiana forward since 2016. Seven years ago, he made a commitment to serve our state and he has done so honorably and with the heart of a true public servant. Now, after countless late nights, working on weekends through natural disasters, a global pandemic, and more legislative sessions than we could have ever expected, I am happy that he is taking some time for himself and his lovely family back home in Thibodaux.”
Edwards announced that Tina Vanichchagorn, who has worked closely with the governor, Block and Chief of Staff Mark Cooper as the administration’s special counsel, will replace Block.
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