Politics & Government

Former Operation UNITE leader to direct Hal Rogers' district office

The longtime head of Operation UNITE will become director of Republican U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers' district office May 15, Rogers announced Thursday.

Karen Kelly helped launch UNITE, an anti-drug initiative in Rogers' district, in 2003, and in recent years had also been director of Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, an environmental program.

Bob Mitchell of Corbin led Rogers' 5th District office for more than three decades before retiring last year.

Chris Girdler, who replaced Mitchell, won election to the 15th District state Senate seat last year and will take a job in the private sector, according to the news release from Rogers' office.

Kelly, a native of Pike County, was a field representative for Rogers in the 1990s.

Rogers said Kelly has shown tremendous leadership in leading UNITE and PRIDE and in coordinating national drug-abuse summits in 2012 and 2013.

"I am confident her tenacity will shine through as we face tough economic challenges and work to create more jobs, healthier communities, economic development and educational opportunities," Rogers said in the release.

Rogers has represented southern and Eastern Kentucky since 1981.