As Mississippi’s top medical professionals worked to sound the alarm on Wednesday about an imminent failure of the state’s hospital system due to the surging COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Tate Reeves downplayed the severity of the situation and urged Mississippians to “remain calm.” Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

Parker Briden, a Missouri native who came to Mississippi in 2019 to work on Tate Reeves’ successful gubernatorial campaign and stayed on as a senior staffer for several months after Reeves was sworn into office, has been tapped by Reeves to be his next chief of staff.

Briden, 27, will assume the pivotal position as Reeves’ gubernatorial staff appears to be in a state of flux. In recent months, there has been substantial upheaval in Reeves’ staff, including former chief of staff Brad White leaving to become the executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Since Reeves took office in January 2020, at least four senior staffers and at least five junior policy staffers have departed.

When White left in June, the governor announced that Liz Welch, the executive director of the Department of Finance and Administration and a longtime Reeves adviser, would take on the added responsibility of interim chief of staff.

Briden had previously served as deputy chief of staff for external affairs on Reeves’ gubernatorial staff before leaving to work as a political consultant to Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bernie Moreno in Ohio.

“Parker has been a trusted partner throughout my time as governor,” Reeves said in a press release. “He will be a highly effective leader and adviser as we work to serve the people of Mississippi.”

In the news release, Briden said, “I am honored and excited to work for the people of Mississippi and Gov. Tate Reeves again. My aspiration is to bring a fraction of the ability and integrity of my predecessors and colleagues to the job. The top responsibility is to be an honest broker for the governor and every partner throughout state government, the Legislature and private enterprise as we work together to serve this great state.”

Reeves credited Briden for being a key adviser on such issues as COVID-19 and other emergencies during his tenure.

Briden, a graduate of the University of Missouri, worked in multiple states on political campaigns and was the communications director for former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned in 2018 amid multiple scandals.

During the 2019 gubernatorial campaign, Briden was Reeves’ primary spokesperson.


We want to hear from you!

Central to our mission at Mississippi Today is inspiring civic engagement. We think critically about how we can foster healthy dialogue between people who think differently about government and politics. We believe that conversation — raw, earnest talking and listening to better understand each other — is vital to the future of Mississippi. We encourage you to engage with us and each other on our social media accounts, email our reporters directly or leave a comment for our editor by clicking the button below.


Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Bobby Harrison, Mississippi Today’s senior capitol reporter, covers politics, government and the Mississippi State Legislature. He also writes a weekly news analysis which is co-published in newspapers statewide. A native of Laurel, Bobby joined our team June 2018 after working for the North Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo since 1984. He is president of the Mississippi Capitol Press Corps Association and works with the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute to organize press luncheons. Bobby has a bachelor's in American Studies from the University of Southern Mississippi and has received multiple awards from the Mississippi Press Association, including the Bill Minor Best Investigative/In-depth Reporting and Best Commentary Column.