Gov. John Bel Edwards has named his nephew and former law partner Bradley A. Stevens to the board of supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.
Stevens, who lives in Hammond, was one of 14 names announced Monday that Edwards was appointing or reappointing to the UL System board, the Board of Regents and the Southern University board of supervisors.
He is a partner at Edwards & Stevens Law Firm and is scheduled to represent the 1st Congressional district on the 16-member board. Board members are named for six-year terms.
Stevens and others are to be sworn in and take their seats when the board meets virtually on Thursday at 1 p.m.
The UL System governs nine colleges and universities, including Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, the University of New Orleans and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Stevens, the son of the governor's sister Alice, is a graduate of SLU.
Editor’s note: This is the third of four profiles on the major candidates running for Louisiana governor. Thursday: David Vitter.
The governor's selection would not run afoul of the state code of government ethics against nepotism – preference for relatives in hiring.
The ban generally applies to members of a government official's immediate family, including children, the spouses of the children, brothers and sisters, the spouses of the officials' brothers and sisters, his or her parents and his or her spouse.
"Brad Stevens is an SLU graduate who has been a very active alumnus for many years — in both academics and athletics — and the Governor knows him to be a hard-working and conscientious supporter of higher education," Shauna Sanford, communications director for the governor, said in a statement Tuesday night.
"He was appointed for the same reason as every other member of the UL Board and other higher Ed boards — because he will be a great board member and serve the board, it’s institutions, and the state very well. The Governor was well within his authority to make the appointment."
Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, is chairwoman of the committee that reviews confirmations, the Senate & Governmental Affairs Committee.
Hewitt noted Tuesday that the governor's pick would not violate ethics rules.
"But it definitely raises a few eyebrows and so I think sometimes actions like this lead our constituents to think that it is the same old, good ole' boy network happening in Louisiana and constituents are asking why," Hewitt said.
The 2021 regular legislative session begins April 12 and ends June 10.
Confirmations are typically handled on or near the last day of the session and usually in large numbers.
"I don't know if it would be a deciding factor in a Senate confirmation hearing," Hewitt said. "But everything is a factor."
Hewitt is Senate majority leader in the GOP-controlled chamber.
Stevens earned degrees at Amite High School and LSU's Paul M. Hebert Law Center, like his uncle in both cases.
He previously worked with the governor at the Edwards & Associates Law Firm.
Stevens became a partner in 2014 and the firm changed its name to Edwards & Stevens Law Firm. The firm handles personal injury cases, business law, elder law and notary services.
Daniel Edwards, Tangipahoa sheriff since 2004, was voted into a fifth term of office Saturday, with 58 percent of the vote.
It does not handle criminal cases because the governor's brother Daniel is sheriff of Tangipahoa Parish. Daniel Edwards is also listed as "of counsel" for the law firm.
The governor left the firm before he took office after winning his first term in 2015.
Stevens did not return a call for comment.