Fayette County

Trump’s pick to lead EPA grew up in Lexington, played baseball at Lafayette, UK

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt arrives at Trump Tower in New York, NY on Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2016.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt arrives at Trump Tower in New York, NY on Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2016. The Washington Post

President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is well-known nationally for his legal battles against the EPA and federal efforts to limit climate change.

What’s not so well known is that Pruitt is a Kentucky native who attended Lafayette High School in Lexington, the University of Kentucky and Georgetown College.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said his mother, Linda Pruitt Warner, who still lives in Lexington. “He was called up there last week (to meet with Trump), but we didn’t know the news until today.”

Pruitt was born in Danville, but moved to Lexington as a boy. He was a standout football and baseball player at Lafayette, earning a baseball scholarship to UK, where he played second base. After a year, he transferred to Georgetown College, where he earned degrees in political science and communications. He moved to Oklahoma to attend the University of Tulsa College of Law, and ended up staying there, his mother said.

“He had worked for an oil company there, and when he came out of school, he wanted to come back to Kentucky, but he had a path already laid out,” Warner said. “He’s just a go-getter, he takes every day as a challenge.”

Pruitt married Marlyn Lloyd at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville in 1990. They have two children.

Former UK baseball coach Keith Madison said he last saw Pruitt about 10 years ago in Oklahoma.

“Earlier today when I heard the news, I was proud of him,” Madison said. “It doesn’t surprise me because he always had an incredible work ethic. He’s a very sharp guy, a very driven guy.”

Before being elected as attorney general, Pruitt served in the Oklahoma State Senate for eight years. He helped pass the state’s Religious Freedoms Act, and as attorney general, he fought the federal healthcare law. In 2012, he was elected as a trustee for the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville.

According to his official biography, Pruitt established Oklahoma’s first Federalism Unit to “more effectively combat unwarranted regulation and systemic overreach by federal agencies, boards and offices.”

He was also profiled by the New York Times as part of a group of state attorneys general who had allied themselves with energy companies to push back against President Barack Obama’s EPA.

Linda Blackford: 859-231-1359, @lbblackford