House Democrats pick former majority floor leader to serve same role in minority alongside two new members of leadership

01/03/2017 05:10 PM

FRANKFORT — House Democrats elected Rep. Rocky Adkins as their minority floor leader during a Tuesday morning caucus meeting before the 2017 General Assembly convened.

Adkins, a Sandy Hook Democrat and former majority floor leader, was unopposed in his leadership bid.

Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder, won his contest against Rep. Joni Jenkins, D-Shively, for minority caucus chair, and Rep. Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville, bested Rep. Jeff Donohue, D-Fairdale, for minority whip.

Democrats lost their hold on House to Republicans in the 2016 election cycle, giving the GOP a 64-36 supermajority in the lower chamber.

Adkins said the Democrats look forward to advancing their agenda “and to be with the majority when we can to move Kentucky forward but also be that loyal opposition when we need to be as well.”

“We’re 36 strong,” he said. “… I’m humbled to have the support of the caucus and humbled to have my team members here as we pull together with our new role moving forward.”

After giving up control of the chamber for the first time since 1921, Democrats are in unfamiliar terrain in modern history.

For Adkins, Tuesday offered a “bittersweet” moment as he ascended to become the Democratic caucus’ top Democrat shortly before the party gave up the speaker’s gavel to House Speaker Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown.

“We went through a very, very tough election cycle,” Adkins said. “We lost a lot of good friends, a lot of valuable expertise here, but to have the confidence of this caucus to continue to be its Democratic leader after 13 years and to be able to continue that’s a great honor for me.”

“We believe there’s a path forward, and we’re going to continue to work hard not only here as we get ready to start into session but we’re going to continue to compete in different regions of Kentucky as we try our best to start winning back the majority,” he added.”


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