Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Wednesday that Billy Piper, his personal chief of staff and longtime adviser, will leave his post at the end of the year “to pursue opportunities outside of government service.”
Piper joined the Kentucky Republican’s staff in 1991 and has worked as both a Congressional and campaign aide for the Senator over the past two decades. He was the Senator’s political and finance director for his 1996 re-election campaign and returned to Washington, D.C., in 1997 to join McConnell’s legislative staff. He then rose to chief of staff in 2002. McConnell is up for re-election in 2014.
“Billy is a trusted advisor, a valued counselor and a close friend. His keen political skills have been indispensable to me and I will deeply miss his service,” McConnell said in the release. The two hail from Louisville.
Piper is the second top McConnell aide to leave this year. Kyle Simmons, McConnell’s chief of staff in his leadership office, left in February after 15 years with the Kentucky lawmaker. Simmons and three other former Senate chiefs launched their lobby shop, the FIRST Group, in March.
Sharon Soderstrom, who was McConnell’s deputy chief of staff in the leadership office, replaced Simmons. There are no immediate plans on a successor to Piper.
“Serving Kentucky and Leader McConnell has been the absolute honor of my professional life,” Piper said. “At the same time, I am genuinely excited about taking on new challenges and getting to enjoy the freedom to be with my wife, Holly, and our two young sons, Billy and Tucker.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.