Elaine Walker to take over parks department after ending term as secretary of state

12/05/2011 12:35 PM

Elaine Walker, who was Gov. Steve Beshear’s pick as secretary of state, will join the Beshear administration as commissioner of the state parks when she leaves office in January, the administration announced.

Beshear appointed Walker, the former Bowling Green mayor, in January 2011 to replace Republican Trey Grayson after Grayson accepted a job as director of the Harvard University Institute of Politics.

Despite getting Beshear’s help in fundraising, Walker lost the Democratic primary to Alison Lundergan Grimes in May. Grimes went on to win the office Nov. 8 and will take over from Walker on Jan. 2.

“Elaine Walker’s experience as a manager will be a good fit for Kentucky State Parks,” said Marcheta Sparrow, secretary of the parks and tourism cabinet. “Elaine has demonstrated her skills as a mayor and as secretary of state and we look forward to having her oversee our park system.”

Walker will replace Gerry van der Meer, who resigned after serving for four years, according to Sparrow’s statement.

In October, Walker announced she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is currently undergoing treatment.

Walker also hadn’t ruled out a future political run, according to an interview with Pure Politics in August.


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