Senate President's wife appointed to cabinet position by Governor Bevin
01/07/2016 04:40 PM
FRANKFORT – Regina Stivers, wife of Kentucky State Senate president Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, has accepted a cabinet position with Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration.
Regina Stivers will serve as as deputy secretary of the state Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
Regina Stivers previously served in the administration of former Gov. Ernie Fletcher, as well as a member of former U.S. Senator Jim Bunning’s staff. Most recently, she worked in the Lexington field office of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — as position she will leave at the end of the week.
Sen. Robert Stivers said on Thursday that he had assumed this day would come, because of his wife’s qualifications, but he had no knowledge or involvement in his wife’s appointment.
“I had no contact, and wanted to make it clear to the administration that I wanted to have no contact,” Sen. Stivers said. “It does not surprise me that they had offered her a position. I do not know of any of the details of how it came about.”
Stivers says that he knows the appointment will be scrutinized by critics, but he says that they will find no impropriety in the process.
“In no way will it compromise my ability to be an independent voice as a State Senator and a Senate President in this body,” he told reporters.
Stivers said that early on, a member of Bevin’s transition team wanted to talk to his wife about the position, and he had made it clear that he wanted to have no involvement or discussion in the process with anyone in the administration.
“We told them that we wanted to have no contact, zero contact, because we assumed this day may occur,” said Stivers. “It is improper by statute for me to have any type of influence over the process.”
Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo had no issue with Regina Stivers being appointed to the position because she was qualified.
“She’s a very qualified and talented person and I have a great deal of respect for Regina and I don’t have any problem with it,” Stumbo said.
Regina Stivers officially starts in her new position on Monday. Word of the appointment was first made on Wednesday during the Commerce Lexington Inc. luncheon which she attended as part of McConnell’s staff.
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