Politics & Government

L. Rogers Wells Jr., finance secretary for Gov. Wilkinson, dies at 79

L. Rogers Wells Jr., state finance secretary under Governor Wallace Wilkinson, died Sunday. He was 79.
L. Rogers Wells Jr., state finance secretary under Governor Wallace Wilkinson, died Sunday. He was 79. 1989 staff file photo

L. Rogers Wells Jr., a successful Glasgow businessman who helped Democrat Wallace Wilkinson become governor of Kentucky in 1987, died Sunday night. He was 79.

Wells was a key fundraiser in Wilkinson’s campaign for governor, and he was finance secretary throughout the Wilkinson administration, from 1987 to 1991.

“Without a doubt, Rogers was one of the nicest people I ever worked with and have known,” said Doug Alexander of Lexington, who was Wilkinson’s press secretary. “He had a quiet demeanor and was a humble person. He served the Wilkinson administration well and succeeded in business.”

Wells was chairman of the board and CEO of American Materials Inc. and had been chairman of New Farmers National Bank and the Bowling Green Bank and Trust Co.

He was acquitted in 1995 of a federal charge of participating in a kickback scheme with a lottery executive.

Wells had experience in business in and out of the state, owning companies involved in explosives, agriculture, fertilizer, coal, gas, oil, plastics, cable television, engineering, warehousing, distribution, construction, paving and real estate development.

As state finance secretary, Wells oversaw Kentucky’s effort to become the first state to issue bonds in the Japanese Samurai Bond Market. The complicated financing transaction saved the state millions.

Hatcher and Saddler Funeral Home in Glasgow is handling arrangements. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m Thursday at First Christian Church in Glasgow and the funeral will follow at the church at 2 p.m. Burial will be in Glasgow Municipal Cemetery.

Memoriams may be sent to Community Medical Care in Glasgow and the Foster Care Council in Lexington.

Jack Brammer: 502-227-1198, @BGPolitics

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