Governor's chief of staff Mike Haydon died of heart attack Sunday

08/12/2012 03:21 PM

UPDATED WITH GOVERNOR’S STATEMENT: Mike Haydon, the governor’s chief of staff and the former mayor of Springfield, died early Sunday after suffering a heart attack, Gov. Steve Beshear’s office confirmed. He was 62.

Haydon served more than 30 in local and state government. He became Gov. Steve Beshear’s third chief of staff on Sept. 16, 2010, after Adam Edelen resigned to run for state auditor.

Beshear was traveling back from the Southern Governors Association meeting in Puerto Rico on Sunday. He issued a statement Sunday evening:

“Jane and I are shocked and devastated by the sudden death of my chief of staff and good friend, Mike Haydon. Mike’s deep experience in state and local government and his vast knowledge of the issues that really matter to the people of this state made him an invaluable leader in our administration and a strong advocate for local governments. Jane and I will always be grateful for his dedication, counsel, knowledge and sense of humor. We have not only lost a man who dedicated his life to improving the future for Kentuckians; we have also lost one of our best friends. But the pain of our loss pales in comparison to that of his wife, Lisa, and their three children, Blair, Kate and Ben, as well as the many members of his extended family. Mike was a dedicated husband and father, and he was never happier than when he was with his family. We grieve with them now, and are praying for them.”

After serving as mayor of Springfield, Haydon moved to state government where he served as commissioner of property valuation administrator, then as revenue secretary for Gov. Paul Patton and later as Patton’s deputy secretary of the cabinet.

Haydon moved to the legislative branch as chief of staff to Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, before joining Beshear’s administration in 2007 as chief legislative liaison.

Adkins, in a statement through spokeswoman Susan Klimchak, said he was “stunned” by the news. “It’s a terrible loss. Mike has been a good friend of mine for many, many years. He worked in my office when I first became majority leader.”

House Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover tweeted: “So sad about passing of my friend Mike Haydon. In politics, you sometimes make friends that transcend political arena. Mike was one of those.”

*UPDATED 5:12 p.m.: *House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said in a statement he had “known Mike for more than 20 years and found him to be a true public servant.

“He had a great understanding of the issues both locally and at the state level, and that experience helped him and those he worked with immensely. On behalf of the Kentucky House, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Haydon family. He will be missed,” Stumbo said.

University of Louisville President James Ramsey, who worked as budget director during Patton administration along side Haydon, also issued a statement: “I’m shocked to hear about the death of my long time friend Mike Haydon. Mike was a respected public servant who used all of his energy to make Kentucky a better place for all. The thoughts and prayers of all of us in the University of Louisville family go out to Mike’s wife Lisa and his entire family.”

From Attorney General Jack Conway: “Mike Haydon was a savvy, intelligent professional who served at many levels of government, and the people of the Commonwealth benefitted greatly from his dedication. I knew Mike for more than fifteen years, and am shocked by his passing. Elizabeth and I have Mike’s family in our thoughts and prayers.”

Haydon is survived by his wife, Lisa, and three children.


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