FRANKFORT — Now all Matt Bevin has to do is govern.
To help the Republican governor-elect accomplish that task, about 10 people started working Wednesday behind closed doors in the state Capitol to come up with names of people to serve in important positions in the Bevin administration that begins Dec. 8.
Bevin, a Louisville businessman, defeated Democrat Jack Conway in Tuesday's election to become Kentucky's second Republican governor in more than 40 years.
Speculation is rampant about whom Bevin will appoint to his cabinet and other major positions, such as chief of staff.
Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said Wednesday afternoon that he met earlier in the day with about 10 to 12 people on what he called Bevin's "pre-transition team."
He declined to identify any potential appointments to Bevin's administration but said state Rep. Jerry Miller, R-Louisville, is "being very active" with the transition.
He also said Jessica Ditto, who became communications director for Bevin's campaign over the summer, would be on the governor's communications staff
Miller, a former state parks commissioner from Eastwood in Jefferson County who started in the state House last year, said he could not comment on the work of the transition team.
He said Bevin invited him to help with any transition about three months ago.
Ditto did not respond Wednesday to an email and phone call seeking comment.
The name mentioned most often as a possible member of Bevin's cabinet is former state Sen. Julie Denton of Louisville, a potential contender for secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
During her term in the Senate, Denton chaired the powerful Health and Welfare Committee and often was critical of the cabinet. She is now a member of the Louisville Metro Council.
Former Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott of Pike ville could be a contender for secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. He lost to Bevin in the May GOP primary election for governor and supported him on the fall campaign trail.
Scott, who attended Bevin's victory party Tuesday night, was asked if he is interested in serving in the Bevin administration.
"Tonight I'm a man of leisure. Call me tomorrow," he said.
When contacted Wednesday and asked the question again, he said "that answer will be for another day."
Other names mentioned as possible Bevin appointments include Hopkins County Attorney Todd P'Pool and Miller himself.
State Rep. Phil Moffett, R-Louisville, has been a strong supporter of Bevin, but he said Wednesday that he planned to seek re-election next year to the state House.
"I think I can be most helpful to Matt in that position," he said.
Stivers said about $220,000 is set aside in the state budget to help the work of Bevin's transition team. The Senate offered working space for the team, he said.
Stivers also said he was not aware of any deadlines Bevin has set to make major appointments.
Bevin did not make any public appearances Wednesday other than placing a phone call to Leland Conway's radio show on WHAS-840 AM in Louisville. Bevin told the radio host that he planned to spend the day eating lunch with his family and "staying out of the limelight" a bit.
Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear said he called Bevin Wednesday morning and congratulated him.
"I promised an orderly transition as I hand off the reins of state government to him," Beshear said. "My office will work with his administration to answer any questions and provide all information necessary to assure consistent delivery of all services."
Beshear, who has been in office since 2007, said he had assigned Mary Lassiter, secretary of his executive cabinet, and Shannon Tivitt, deputy chief of staff, to assist the incoming administration.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said House Democrats planned to meet Friday to discuss announcing their intentions to work with Bevin. Stumbo said he wanted to be sure there is cooperation on thorny issues, such as the teachers' retirement fund. But he said Democrats would not abandon their top priorities, such as raising the minimum wage or fighting against anti-union legislation, just because there is a new governor.