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Governor Perdue Announces Ed Holcombe as New Chief of Staff

Wednesday, November 22, 2006  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774

Governor Perdue Announces Ed Holcombe as New Chief of Staff

Governor Thanks John Watson for Loyal, Selfless Service

ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue announced today the appointment of Ed Holcombe as the new chief of staff for the Office of the Governor.  Holcombe follows John Watson, who has served as chief of staff to Governor Perdue since November 2003.  Watson leaves public service effective January 1, 2007, to pursue opportunities in the private sector.

 “John’s integrity, leadership and commitment to public service have been invaluable to me and the citizens of Georgia during a historic period of time,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.  “His dedication and selflessness is unwavering.  John is often the first one to arrive in the morning, and the last one to leave.  I know that he will cherish having more time to spend with his wife, Kimberly, and their two young daughters.”

“It has been my distinct honor and privilege to serve this governor,” said John Watson.  “There is no finer team in the state of Georgia that I could ask for as coworkers.  I’m deeply appreciative to Governor Perdue for the opportunities he’s given me.”

During his tenure as chief of staff, Watson, 37, managed Georgia’s nationally acclaimed response to Hurricane Katrina, the gas shortage crisis, historic economic development across the state, improvement in Georgia’s national SAT ranking and Governor Perdue’s successful reelection campaign, among other accomplishments. 

“I’m extremely pleased to have an experienced professional like Ed joining our team,” said Governor Perdue.  “His extensive expertise in government relations, economic development and policy making will be valuable in this important position.  I look forward to Ed’s counsel as we continue to strive for a more educated, healthier, safer and growing Georgia over the next four years.”

Holcombe, 59, joins the public sector following 39-year tenure with Georgia Power, beginning in 1967.  For years he rose through the ranks of the company, working in positions in field operations, economic development and legislative affairs.  In 2001 Holcombe became vice president of governmental and regulatory affairs, overseeing Georgia Power’s representation to Georgia’s congressional delegation, the Georgia General Assembly and the Public Service Commission.   Earlier this week Georgia Power announced Holcombe’s retirement effective January 1, 2007.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Governor Perdue since he became a state senator in 1991,” said Ed Holcombe.  “He’s a man of great integrity and I look forward to joining his administration.  I have spent 14 years of my career working directly with Georgia legislators and our state’s leadership, and I welcome this opportunity to expand those relationships.”

Biographies on Ed Holcombe and John Watson are provided below.

Ed Holcombe, 59, Conyers, GA –  Holcombe is currently the vice president of governmental and regulatory affairs for Georgia Power Company, responsible for advocating company positions with the Georgia General Assembly, Georgia’s federal delegation and the Public Service Commission.  He joined Georgia Power in 1967.  He was in region operations for 15 years, where he worked with many local governments and authorities.  In 1982 Holcombe joined the company’s economic development organization where he partnered with elected officials to attract new businesses to Georgia.  He was tapped to assume responsibility for Georgia Power’s state legislative affairs department in 1987.  Holcombe has served as chairman of the Rockdale Hospital Authority, chairman of the Rockdale Development Authority, president of the Rockdale County Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Rockdale United Way, president of the Conyers Rotary Club and member of the Allocations Committee of Atlanta United Way.  He served a 20-year term on the Rockdale County Trust Company of Georgia bank board and as a trustee for the Georgia 4-H Foundation.  He is a graduate of DeKalb College, attended Georgia State University, and is a 1992 graduate of Leadership Georgia.  Holcombe and his wife, Teresa, have three sons and six grandchildren. 

John Watson, 37, Powder Springs, GA – Watson is currently chief of staff to Governor Sonny Perdue.  A native Virginian, Watson began his political career as staff assistant to the Fairfax County, Virginia, Board of Supervisors.  In 1993 Watson relocated to Atlanta, serving as former Congressman Bob Barr's Finance Director in his first election to Georgia’s Seventh Congressional District. Following Barr’s 1994 election, Watson was appointed district representative, where he managed four district offices in the greater metropolitan Atlanta area.  In 1995 Watson became finance director for the Georgia Republican Party, achieving unprecedented fundraising objectives.  In 1997 Watson joined Mike Bowers, Georgia’s Attorney General for 16 years, as campaign manager for the Mike Bowers for Governor Campaign. Following the 1998 election cycle, Watson entered the business sector to serve as vice president of business development for Construction Systems, Inc., where he launched a successful commercial construction division.  Watson is a member of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and serves as chairman of the Georgia Republican Party Foundation.  He is a graduate of Wake Forest University.  Watson and his wife, Kimberly, have two daughters. 

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