Gov.-elect Andy Beshear named more top members of his incoming administration, including two well-known Kentuckians, during a Capitol press conference on Monday.
House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, who ran against Beshear in the Democratic primary, has been named senior adviser and former Lexington Mayor Jim Gray will lead the Transportation Cabinet.
“You could claim we were competitors, up until about mid-May,” Beshear said in announcing Adkins, the longtime Democrat state representative from Sandy Hook. “I don’t think we were ever rivals. We always had the good of the commonwealth in front of us and, after that election, we came together and he’s one of the reasons that I’m here today.”
Adkins, who had been considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2020, said "the best decision for me and my family is to make the decision I’m making here today.
“For the next four to eight years, serving where I have served to hopefully be able to make that difference and continue to make that difference, it happens here.”
Beshear’s running mate, Lt. Gov.-elect Jacqueline Coleman, will get an expanded role as she serves as Secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.
“She knows that to support our children, we must first support our schools, our teachers, administrators, social workers, and school staff, Beshear said. “Tackling the challenges of public education is no small feat, but I’ve got the right running mate, the right lieutenant governor to do it. Jacqueline Coleman is more than up to the challenge.”
Coleman said: “Education is the cornerstone of Kentucky’s future and it is the foundation upon which our economic and physical health must be built. Strengthening our public education system is without a doubt the most important, the most moral thing we can do for our children and our families in this Commonwealth.”
Beshear said Gray, who has returned to head Gray Construction since leaving office in January, will be outstanding as the Transportation Secretary.
“We must have someone at the helm of the Transportation Cabinet with vast knowledge of the ins and outs of our infrastructure needs,” Beshear said. “We need to have somebody at the head of our Transportation Cabinet that has led large teams to great success. We need to have Jim Gray.”
Gray said: “It’s a sizable cabinet, we will run it with integrity, and with transparency. The first order of business will be that we will act by the Golden Rule. We will treat others the way we want to be treated. And that starts with the employees.”
Beshear announced two other appointments during the press conference. Col. Haldane B. Lamberton will serve as adjutant general of the Kentucky National Guard. He has 35 years in uniform, 14 of them in the US Army and 21 in the Kentucky National Guard. As required by Kentucky’s Constitution, Lamberton will be sworn in immediately after Beshear, at 12:01 a.m., on Dec. 10.
Beshear’s Commissioner of Veterans Affairs will be former Lexington Fire Chief and retired US Army Lt. Col. Keith Jackson.
More announcements of people named to key positions are expected on Friday.