Rep. Jeff Greer makes his case for House Speaker Pro Tem

11/17/2014 07:54 PM

With Democrats continuing their near century of majority dominance in the state House caucus members are again going through the internal leadership election process, but this time members are vying for an open leadership spot as current Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark announced last week he would not be seeking the post.

Rep. Jeff Greer of Brandenburg is one of four caucus members currently seeking the position of pro tempore which presides over the chamber in the absence of the House speaker and assists in legislative and fundraising activities.

Also announcing their bids for the post are Rep. Dennis Keene of Wilder, Rep. Denny Butler of Louisville and Rep. Darryl Owens of Louisville.

Former House Speaker Jody Richards of Bowling Green has also been mentioned as a potential challenger.

Greer, who has chaired the Banking and Insurance Committee since 2009, sent his fellow caucus members a letter detailing why he was running for the post the day after Clark announced he was stepping down from the role.

The insurance agent from Brandenburg is relying on his salesmanship experience as a selling point to his colleagues in the House as someone who can negotiate within the factions or across the aisle, and as a fundraiser for the Democratic caucus.

To earn the post Greer plans on making individual appearances with fellow lawmakers and he says he has already made telephone calls with most of the caucus.

Greer wants to “handle the gavel” to give House Speaker Greg Stumbo a break from the podium during the legislative session so he can work on “planning or negotiating if needed.”

“We need his mind in the game and not always up there when there’s not really business going on, so I can handle that,” Greer said.

Current House leadership consists of two members from the mountain region in House Speaker Stumbo and Floor Leader Rock Adkins, one member from central Kentucky in Majority Caucus Chair Sannie Overly and one from the west in Majority Whip Tommy Thompson.

Clark, who Greer is vying to replace, hails from the largest urban area of the state in Jefferson County — something that several lawmakers from Louisville, who are running for leadership, argue needs to be represented in this post.

However, Greer says he has his geography covered in his district and friendships.

“When you look at the state – I’m one mile from Jefferson County so I think I identify with them. I am a member of the west Kentucky caucus, I think I’m the furthest east member of the west Kentucky caucus, so I’m very close to them,” Greer said. “Some of my best friends are in the mountain and central Kentucky caucus so, you know, I think I have a feel for the entire state and not just a certain area.”

The role of Speaker Pro Tem is a long term goal of Greer’s when he got the bug as chairman of his freshman caucus in 2006.


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