UPDATE: THURSDAY, NOV. 5
Brown-Forman exec to chair Bevin transition
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Brown-Forman executive J. McCauley “Mac” Brown will chair Gov.-Elect Matt Bevin’s team of advisers working on the transition to a new administration.
Bevin announced the members of his transition team Thursday afternoon.
Lt. Gov.-elect Jenean Hampton will serve on the team as will many people from Jefferson County, including former Metro Councilman Hal Heiner, Councilwoman Julie Denton and state Rep. Jerry T. Miller.
Bevin said in the announcement that he was honored that Brown agreed to chair the transition.
“Mac is highly respected for his business acumen and strategic planning experience with one of Kentucky’s most successful companies,” Bevin said.
Brown is quoted in the announcement saying that Bevin is “assembling an administration staffed by the best and brightest to usher in a fresh state for Kentucky.” Brown said the transition will be “deliberate, inclusive and efficient.”
Bevin also said in the announcement, “We have been given a clear charge by the people of the Commonwealth to lead with conservative principles.”
Heiner, who lost the Republican primary for governor to Bevin in May, will oversee transportation issues for the transition. He declined to comment on whether he would join the Bevin administration in a full-time leadership role, referring questions to Jessica Ditto, the spokeswoman for Bevin’s gubernatorial campaign and transition team.
Hal Heiner, who ran unsuccessfully against Matt Bevin in the Republican gubernatorial primary, was in the Kentucky Capitol on Thursday, two days after Bevin’s win in the general election.
Likewise, Denton declined to comment. She will oversee “Public Protection and Labor” issues for the transition.
Miller could not be reached for comment Thursday. He is identified in the announcement as director of what Bevin has named the “Transition Steering Committee.”
Members of a new governor’s transition committee often become members of that governor’s administration. The announcement said that no member of the steering committee is a candidate for a job associated within the area they are overseeing during transition. But the announcement did not rule out an appointment to other areas in the Bevin administration.
Here are the other persons named to the Transition Steering Committee and the areas they will oversee for the committee:
»Kristen Webb-Hill, transition director. She is a Louisville attorney who chairs the Republican group Kentucky Opportunity Coalition.
»Vivek Sarin, Governor’s Office. He is from Louisville and owner of Shelby Industries.
»John Hodgson, Budget and Operations director. He is from Fisherville and is a manager for UPS Airlines.
»John Roach, general counsel. He is a Lexington attorney who worked in Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s office.
»State Rep. Tom Kerr, R-Taylor Mill, Economic Development.
»Billy Harper, Education and Workforce Development. He is a Paducah contractor and former unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor.
»Kathy Walker, Energy and Environment. She is owner of Elm Street Resources in Paintsville.
»Bonita Black, Health and Family Services. She is a Louisville attorney with Steptoe & Johnson.
»Mark Sommer, Justice and Public Safety. He is a Louisville tax attorney.
»Garth Kuhnhein, personnel. He is an Edgewood engineer.
»Brett Gaspard, Tourism, Arts & Heritage. He is from Union and works for Rumpke Consolidated Waste.
»Maj. Gen. Donald Storm, Department of Military Affairs. He is the former adjutant general in the Ernie Fletcher administration.
»John Farris, Kentucky Retirement System. He is a Lexington economist.
»Frank Farris, Finance and Administration. He is a Louisville CPA.
»Tom Stephens, transition personnel director. He is a former personnel official in the Ernie Fletcher administration.
The transition to a new administration will be a major job, and the state budget sets aside $220,000 to cover its costs.
In addition, a new governor has hundreds of important jobs to fill quickly. The number could be as many as 800, Senate President Robert Stivers said on Wednesday.
25 key jobs to fill
Here’s a list of 25 key jobs that Matt Bevin must fill immediately after his Dec. 8 inauguration:
»Secretary of the governor’s executive cabinet
»Governor’s office chief of staff
»Governor’s general counsel
»State budget director
»Adjutant general (commander of Kentucky National Guard)
»Finance and Administration Cabinet secretary
»Health and Family Services Cabinet secretary
»Public Health commissioner
»Community-based services commissioner
»Transportation Cabinet secretary
»State highway commissioner
»Justice and Public Safety Cabinet secretary
»State police commissioner
»Department of Corrections commissioner
»Education and Workforce Development cabinet secretary
»Energy and Environment Cabinet secretary
»Natural resources commissioner
»Environmental Protection commissioner
»Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet secretary
»Public Protection Cabinet secretary
»Financial institutions commissioner
»Personnel Cabinet secretary
»Labor Cabinet secretary
By Tom Loftus
Frankfort and county officials hope to keep ties with new governor
Following his election to the office of governor Tuesday, Republican Matt Bevin has only a month of transition before assuming Kentucky’s highest office.
And while the future may be unpredictable, Franklin County and Frankfort officials say they are looking forward to maintaining a good working relationship with the state under Bevin’s new administration.
“Transitioning is hard for any administration,” Franklin County Judge-Executive Huston Wells said.
Wells said that while rumors are circulating about the changes Bevin could make to state government, which for the past eight years has been led by Democrat Steve Beshear, what will actually happen and how it will affect the county is still unclear.
“I think we’ll be OK in the long term, but in the short term there will be a lot of apprehension,” Wells said. “The unknown is what brings fears.”
Both Wells and Frankfort Mayor Bill May said they are reaching out to Bevin to offer assistance during the transition.
Watching the big projects
Wells and May both said that they don’t foresee any major changes under the new administration as far as state funding for local governments are concerned, including municipal aid money to assist with road maintenance.
“There’s no Democrat or Republican way to fix a pothole,” May said.
Rather, Wells said that the changes at the state level that could have an adverse affect on the county would likely happen indirectly, and they would be tied to planned future projects.
“The biggest project now that we’ve been having meetings on is what’s going to happen to the Capital Plaza and tower,” he said.
The demolition of the tower, which houses office space, could potentially lead to state workers leaving the downtown area. Many local representatives are opposed to moving the state workers because of the economic impact they have on the surrounding restaurants and businesses.
“The major, big projects that have been on the horizon, that’s what’s going to be interesting to watch and see if they continue,” Wells said.
Bevin will take office Dec. 8.
By Seth Littrell
The State Journal
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 04, 2015
Rural voters the difference in Ky. gubernatorial election; GOP winner to revise Medicaid expansion…
Kentucky, which has been at the forefront of Medicaid expansion, the “war on coal” and the battle over same-sex marriage, on Tuesday elected a conservative Republican as its next governor, only the second time the state has elected a Republican governor since 1971. The credit, or blame, depending on your opinion about Governor-elect Matt Bevin, goes to the state’s rural voters, who have now turned the state red. Both of the state’s U.S. senators are Republicans, and five of its six House members are Republicans. The state Senate is Republican-controlled, while the state House is Democrat-led, the last such chamber in the South.
Bevin, who won overall with 52.5 percent of the votes to 43.8 percent for Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway, scored big in rural areas. He earned 50 to 59.9 percent of the votes in 56 counties; 60 to 69.9 percent in 32 counties; 70 to 79.9 percent in 12 counties—mostly in Eastern Kentucky coal country—and 83.4 percent in Jackson County, a solidly Republican county in Eastern Kentucky. Kentucky, which has 120 counties, had a voter turnout of about 31 percent.
Conway won in Rowan County—where county clerk Kim Davis waged her war on same-sage marriage—by a count of 49.7 percent to 46.7 percent. But President Obama carried that county, and in heavily Republican Casey County, where the county clerk has also refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, Bevin scored 79.3 percent of the vote to 18.1 percent for Conway. Bevin had called for current Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, “to issue an executive order freeing Davis of the responsibility of issuing the licenses and even had his photo taken with Davis,” Joseph Gerth reports for The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Bevin’s hometown.
Bevin at first said he would abolish Medicaid expansion “but for the last three months has said he would seek a federal waiver to revise it,” reports Kentucky Health News, published by the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, which also publishes The Rural Blog. In Kentucky the uninsured rate dropped from 20.8 percent in 2013 to 9.8 percent in 2014, reports Kentucky Health News. The state had the nation’s largest decrease of number of uninsured residents from 2013 to 2014, KHN reports.
“As governor, Bevin has called for an austere budget to pay down Kentucky’s state worker pension program’s unfunded liability, and he has promised to move new teachers over to a 401k type program rather than a traditional pension,” Gerth writes.
By Tim Mandell
Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues