Beshear appoints Mercer judge-executive

Gov. Steve Beshear has appointed former state Rep. Milward Dedman of Harrodsburg as Mercer County judge-executive.

Dedman, who represented the 55th District from 2004 to 2008, will succeed John Trisler on Saturday. Trisler, who had been judge-executive since September 2003, announced his retirement in late June.

"It's a challenge, but I'm looking forward to it," Dedman said.

Dedman said he will be sworn in Saturday at the Mercer Fiscal Court offices at 134 South Main Street in Harrodsburg. A time had not been scheduled Monday.

Dedman, 44, is a real estate broker and owner of Freeman and Dedman Real Estate & Auction Co. He also is a managing partner of Freeman Farm Partnership.

Dedman succeeded Jack Coleman, D-Burgin, in the House. Dedman won the 2004 election as a Republican but switched to the Democratic Party in September 2007.

Eight months later, Dedman lost the Democratic primary for the 55th House District to Kent Stevens of Lawrenceburg.

Dedman will serve as judge-executive until the next general election on Nov. 2, 2010.

Asked whether he wants to run for judge-executive, Dedman said, "I plan on it. Yes, I plan on running next May in the primary."

Mercer County is in the process of building a new judicial center. The old Mercer County Courthouse will be demolished in the coming weeks.

Dedman said another priority is to encourage the future construction of Kentucky Agriculture Heritage Center north of Harrodsburg. The museum, which has received some state funding, would tell the story of the commonwealth's agricultural history and present.

Coleman, who owns a lumber company, also had expressed interest in the appointment. He said he is weighing his options on whether to run for judge-executive.

"I'm reviewing the landscape of the community," Coleman said. "I have a lot of supporters. I'll just have to wait and see."