NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The head of the state Republican party says one of Donald Trump's key appointments has strong ties to Louisiana, and that should bode well in the future.
Roger Villere is downplaying criticism of another top Trump appointee who has been denounced by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
It has not been an easy road for Reince Priebus, who walked a tightrope for the past year, trying to turn the traditional GOP base opposed to Donald Trump, into Trump supporters.
"A number of RNC members were worried about Trump, but he talked them through it, and told them he could win," said Roger Villere, the head of the Louisiana Republican Party.
Now, Priebus finds himself as Trump's chief of staff.
"He's the person who pushes the president's policy agenda forward, and perhaps more importantly, decides what information goes before the president," said FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman.
Villere says Priebus is a friend to Louisiana, and perhaps more importantly to Metairie Congressman and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, an early Trump supporter.
"They are very close. Steve likes him a lot and was one of the early people who recommended Reince to work with Trump," said Villere.
That relationship could benefit the region.
"Look around this community, you see testament after testament of Louisiana having power in Congress," said Sherman.
Then there's the selection of Steve Bannon as Trump's chief counselor. It's a selection that's rankled many, but not Villere.
"He is pretty wright wing, but I don't think he's pushed hate groups," said Villere.
Bannon's selection has been denounced by the Southern poverty law center, but a spokesman for the president elect says that Bannon, should not be labeled a racist.
"People should look at the full resume. He's got a Harvard business degree. He's a naval officer. He's had success in entertainment and a Goldman Sachs managing partner. He's a brilliant tactician," said Kellyanne Conway with the Trump campaign.
"Steve Bannon from Breitbart News was the voice, of the alt right that gave voice to rural white voters who felt left out of the economy," said Sherman.
Nearly 4,000 appointment to come, as the Trump administration takes shape.
Villere says Reince Priebus has been a friend to Louisiana after recent floods, helping open doors in Congress to get aid flowing to victims.