FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor-elect Andy Beshear announced his first cabinet members Monday, taking the top House Democrat out of the legislature.
Rep. Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, has been in the House since 1987. He was House majority leader 2003 to 2016, when Republicans won the majority.
Since then, he has been the House Minority Floor Leader, a role he will be giving up once he starts as Beshear’s senior adviser when the new governor begins his term.
“I want my colleagues in the House, both Democrats, and Republicans, to know this was not an easy decision, but I want to be in the right place, where I know we can make a difference,” Adkins said. “Not saying you can’t there, but to be in a different role, to be in the governor’s office, to be the senior policy adviser, to be able to continue to work with the House and the Senate, a place where I’ve been, is one thing that made this decision easier for me.”
Beshear and Adkins ran against each other in the Democratic primary for governor. After Beshear won that contest, the two men regularly campaigned alongside each other leading up to Beshear’s win in the general election against incumbent Governor Matt Bevin.
“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 I’m here today,” Beshear said.
Adkins said he still needs to discuss his official resignation with the Governor-elect’s general counsel before making a decision on when specifically he will actually step down. Once that happens, a special election will be called to fill Adkins’ seat.
Beshear made a few other cabinet appointments Monday, including former Lexington Mayor Jim Gray as Transportation Secretary, Lt. Governor-elect Jacqueline Coleman as Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary, Col. Haldane B. Lamberton as adjutant general of the Kentucky National Guard, and retired Lt. Col. Keith Jackson as Commissioner for Veterans Affairs.