Governor-elect Matt Bevin announced Thursday the transition team that will help him assemble his administration, drawing on friends, business executives, Tea Party and Republican activists, and aides for the last Republican governor, Ernie Fletcher.
The team is led by J. McCauley "Mac" Brown, a vice president at Louisville distiller Brown-Forman Corp., parent company of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey.
"Mac is highly respected for his business acumen and strategic planning experience with one of Kentucky's most successful companies. It is an honor to have him leading this transition," Bevin said in a prepared statement.
Said Brown: "Our priority is to manage the transition in a deliberate, inclusive and efficient manner. We have been preparing for this historic opportunity for several weeks and will continue to identify the right people for the right positions throughout the transition."
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The transition team's steering committee will evaluate the policy and personnel needs of the core areas of state government and advise Bevin on how to proceed, Bevin said. No steering committee member is a candidate for any job associated with the committee, he said.
The steering committee includes:
■ Lieutenant governor-elect Jenean Hampton
■ Transition director: Kristen Webb-Hill, Louisville lawyer and chairwoman of Republican activist group Kentucky Opportunity Coalition.
■ Governor's office: Vivek Sarin, a close Bevin friend and chief executive of Shelby Industries, manufacturer of tow and trailer equipment in Shelbyville.
■ Steering committee director: State Rep. Jerry Miller, R-Louisville.
■ Budget and operations director: John Hodgson, UPS Airlines manager and Louisville-area Tea Party activist.
■ General counsel: John Roach, Lexington lawyer and former general counsel to Fletcher who later was appointed by Fletcher to the state Supreme Court.
■ Economic development: State Rep. Tom Kerr, R-Taylor Mill.
■ Education and workforce development: Billy Harper, president of Harper Industries, a construction services firm in Paducah, and a 2007 candidate for governor in the Republican primary.
■ Energy and environment: Kathy Walker, president of Elm Street Resources, an energy marketing company in Paintsville.
■ Health and family services: Bonita Black, corporate lawyer at Steptoe & Johnson in Louisville.
■ Justice and public safety: Mark Sommer, a lawyer who heads tax and incentives practices at Frost Brown Todd in Louisville.
■ Personnel: Garth Kuhnhein, an engineer with GK & Associates in Edgewood and a Northern Kentucky Tea Party activist.
■ Public protection and labor: Julie Denton, Louisville Metro councilwoman and former Republican state senator.
■ Tourism, arts and heritage: Brett Gaspard, manager at Rumpke Consolidated Waste and a Boone County Republican Party leader.
■ Transportation: Hal Heiner, founder of Capstone Realty, a commercial real estate developer in Louisville, and one of Bevin's Republican primary challengers last spring.
■ Military affairs: Maj. Gen. Donald Storm, retired from the Kentucky National Guard; he was Fletcher's adjutant general.
■ Kentucky Retirement Systems: John Farris, economist at Commonwealth Economics in Lexington; he was secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet under Fletcher.
■ Finance and administration: Frank Farris, accountant at Mountjoy Chilton Medley in Louisville.
■ Transition personnel director: Tom Stephens, general counsel at the state Personnel Cabinet under Fletcher.
■ Communications director: Jessica Ditto, former aide to Fletcher and the Kentucky Republican Party.