Overly elected as first woman in Kentucky House leadership; Carney new GOP whip

01/08/2013 03:37 PM

The Democratic and Republican House caucus leadership teams each added a new face, and Democrats made history by electing the first woman to serve as a House leader — in Rep. Sannie Overly of Paris.

Overly defeated Rep. Bob Damron of Nicholasville as Democratic caucus chair.

“It was a humbling experience to be the person the caucus would choose for the first time in the Commonwealth’s history to serve in House leadership. I’m honored, humbled, and look forward to serving,” Overly said.

It was the second time one of Damron’s fellow Central Kentuckians unseated him from the caucus chairman post. After winning the job in 2005, Damron lost re-election two years later to Rep Charlie Hoffman of Georgetown. But Damron won the seat back in a rematch in 2009.

The rest of the House Democratic leadership will remain the same with Rep. Larry Clark of Louisville turning back a challenge by Rep. Arnold Simpson of Covington for the nomination of Speaker Pro Tem. And Rep. Tommy Thompson survived a tough challenge from Rep. Johnny Bell, D-Glasgow, for the job of Democratic whip.

Thompson returns for a second two-year term as whip. Clark has served as Speaker Pro Tem since 1994.

Thompson, Clark and Overly will join the other two Democratic leaders — Rep. Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, and Rep. Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, as House Majority Floor leader. Neither Stumbo nor Adkins faced opposition.

Meanwhile, the House Republicans elected Rep. John “Bam” Carney, R-Campbellsville, as minority whip to replace retired Rep. Danny Ford. Carney defeated Rep. Adam Koenig of Erlanger for that position.

Longtime Rep. Bob DeWeese of Louisville returned as caucus chair. The race for Republican caucus chairman was a three-way contest between DeWeese and Reps. Brad Montell of Shelbyville and Steven Rudy of West Paducah.

Rep. Jeff Hoover of Jamestown remains the minority floor leader.


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