All politics aside, Rep. John Tilley is a great choice for Kentucky’s justice and public safety secretary.
Republican Gov. Matt Bevin showed good judgment by appointing the Democrat from Hopkinsville to his cabinet.
And it’s reassuring that Tilley, who as a lawmaker since 2007 has shown both intelligence and diligence, is willing to work for Bevin.
As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Tilley helped shepherd penal reforms into law; as justice secretary, he will be responsible for bringing their promise of rehabilitation rather than incarceration into reality. In recent sessions, he successfully pushed for treating the spread of heroin as a public-health issue. And he was instrumental in finally expanding domestic-violence protections to dating relationships.
Tilley’s departure from the legislature loosens the Democrats’ already tenuous hold on the state House and sparked some impolitic criticism from Speaker Greg Stumbo, who was taken by surprise by Tilley’s decision.
But there’s nothing new about governors using their appointment powers to weaken the opposition party.
If only such appointments were always this good.