Essex County News

Mayor Lester Taylor Hires Veteran Political Advisor Kellie Drakeford LeDet as New Chief of Staff

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EAST ORANGE, NJ - Mayor Lester E. Taylor III is proud to welcome Kellie Drakeford LeDet, a veteran political advisor and former President Barack Obama appointee, to the Taylor Administration as his new Chief of Staff.

LeDet, who brings a wealth of experience as an astute thought leader, communicator and consensus builder, has been charged with the task of ensuring the transformational legacy created under Mayor Taylor’s leadership continues to set the standard for urban excellence during this “final” quarter of his mayoral term, which will end on December 31, 2017.

Appointed by President Obama in 2014 to serve as the U.S. Small Business Administration Regional Administrator for Region II (New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S.  Virgin Islands), LeDet says the last six months of 2016 brought about a wide range of emotions for employees of the Obama Administration, but the former president consistently challenged his team to finish strong.

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LeDet welcomed the opportunity to join Mayor Taylor’s team at this critical juncture because she believes that his commitment, loyalty and passion for the people of the City of East Orange is now greater than ever before.

“This is not just about building a legacy, this is about making sure that our employees are ready and prepared to carry out Mayor Taylor’s legacy after he is gone,” said LeDet. “Mayor Taylor always talks about being the city’s biggest cheerleader. Well, now I am the second biggest cheerleader and I am here to help in any way that I can.”

“I’ve known Kellie for a long time and I’ve always respected her business acumen and trailblazing accomplishments in government and the private sector. She has a proven track record as a leader, innovator, negotiator, change agent, advocate, and capacity builder,” said Mayor Taylor. “When I made the decision not to run for a second term, I did so for personal reasons, but my professional integrity, my demand for accountability and my expectation of high performance has not wavered. Timing is everything and Kellie is just the right person at just the right time to take my tenure as Mayor from good to great.”

Before joining SBA, LeDet served as Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Managing Director of Diversity, Small Business and Government Affairs at the New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation, Deputy State Director for U.S. Senator Robert Torricelli (D-NJ), and Deputy Chief of Management and Operations for Governor James McGreevey (D-NJ). She began her career in government under U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ).

LeDet attended Norfolk State University in Norfolk, VA and majored in political science and mass communications with a concentration in public administration. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the New Jersey Association of Women-Owned Businesses “Woman of the Year” Award and the NAACP’s “Outstanding Community Service” Award, and New Jersey Institute of Social Justice’s “Small Business Advocate of the Year” Award.

LeDet is actively involved in numerous community and civic organizations and her life’s work is guided by her belief in the mission: “To whom much is given, much is required.”

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