Senate Chairmen: freshman to lead judiciary; Wilson gets education; Bowen over state gov.

12/07/2012 01:56 PM

Senate Republican leaders announced the chairmanships for the 2013-2014 General Assembly, selecting a freshman to lead the judiciary panel and moving four senators with two years experience into other key chairmanships.

As a consolation for narrowly losing the race for Senate Republican floor leader, Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, will move from Agriculture Committee chairman to being the vice-chair of the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee. Independent Sen. Bob Leeper of Paducah will continue to chair that committee.

Senate Republicans had three chairmanships to fill because of retirements: education, judiciary and veterans and military affairs. Two others — the State and Local Government Committee and Natural Resources and Energy Committee — were left open after Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, and Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, were elected into leadership posts.

Here’s the list:

Judiciary Committee, Sen.-Elect Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville — Although he hasn’t even been sworn in yet, Westerfield, 32, is the only member of the Republican caucus who is attorney and not a member of the leadership team.

Education Committee, Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green — Wilson, first elected in 2010, has been a proponent of allowing charter schools.

State and Local Government Committee, Sen. Joe Bowen, R-Owensboro — Bowen also has served in the Senate just two years. But much of his focus in the 2012 session was on government issues, such as reducing the state’s debt.

Natural Resources and Energy Committee, Sen. Jared Carpenter, R-Richmond — Carpenter is the third member of the 2010 class to land in a chairmanship. Smith, who left this post to become Senate GOP whip, told Pure Politics that Carpenter was his pick for the post.

Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection, Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon — Higdon ran unsuccessfully for Senate whip, but he is well-liked by his colleagues and has sponsored several bills related to veterans issues in recent sessions.

Agriculture, Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville — Hornback is the fourth member of the 2010 election class to move into a chairmanship. Hornback is a farmer and he replaces Givens, who chaired that committee since 2009.

The other standing committee chairmanships remain the same:

  • Banking and Insurance: Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville

  • Economic Development, Tourism & Labor: Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, R-Lexington
  • Health and Welfare: Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville
  • Licensing, Occupations & Administrative: Sen. John Schickel, R-Union
  • Transportation: Sen. Ernie Harris, R-Crestwood

Correction: This post has been updated to reflect that Senate Republicans initially sent out a statement misidentifying Givens as a co-chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He will be the vice-chair.


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