The Chatter: Carly Fiorina becomes ninth to file for RPK caucus, House Dems and Bevin announce appointments

12/30/2015 04:38 PM

Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina became the ninth Republican presidential candidate to file for the Republican Party of Kentucky’s March 5 caucus, RPK announced Wednesday.

Fiorina, averaging eighth in recent polling per Real Clear Politics, joins U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, New York real estate mogul Donald Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in the contest.

“Carly Fiorina is a welcome addition to our presidential caucus, and I am pleased that she will compete for the votes of Kentucky Republicans,” RPK Executive Director Mike Biagi said in a statement. “I encourage Democratic and Independent voters to change their registration to Republican by the December 31 deadline so they can vote in the caucus on March 5.”

Steele named House energy committee chairman

House Democratic leaders appointed Rep. Fitz Steele as the chamber’s next Natural Resources and Environment Committee chairman on Wednesday.

The move follows Rep. Jim Gooch’s decision to seek re-election as a Republican, which was announced on Tuesday.

Steele called the appointment “a tremendous honor.”

“It will give me a better chance to serve my district and especially the coal regions both here and in Western Kentucky,” he said in a statement. “I am a firm believer that we can build on Kentucky’s unparalleled beauty and still maintain some of the nation’s lowest electricity rates. That is my goal going forward.”

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said the Hazard Democrat “has built a strong reputation as a defender of sensible environmental laws and is an excellent choice to lead this committee as we ready for the legislative session.”

Steele, who began serving in the state House in 2009, has been a vocal critic of President Barack Obama’s energy policies and serves on the Federal Environmental Regulation Impact Assessment Task Force, which is tasked with studying the impact of federal environmental rule changes in Kentucky.

“The Natural Resources and Environment Committee will play a major role when it comes to reviewing and potentially implementing the findings this task force will have,” he said.

“I will do all I can to make sure Kentucky does not face an unfair burden when it comes to changes out of Washington.”

Bevin appoints director of boards and commissions

Gov. Matt Bevin has named Brett Gaspard, former chairman of the Boone County Republican Party, his executive director of boards and commissions.

Gaspard, a Walton resident, has spent 15 years in the waste management business as well as volunteering on political campaigns for Paul and U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Garrison, according to a news release Wednesday. He’s also served in volunteer roles with the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky Taxpayers United and League of Kentucky Property Owners, the release states.

“Governor Bevin is a forward-thinking optimist with a solid track record of business success who I believe is going to accomplish wonderful things for our Commonwealth,” Gaspard said in a statement. “I am humbled by the opportunity to help find talented and qualified individuals who are willing to serve our Commonwealth on boards and commissions.”

Bevin praised Gaspard’s experience and character in announcing the appointment.

“The selection of qualified candidates for our many boards and commissions will play an instrumental role in producing a brighter future in Kentucky,” the governor said in a statement. “Brett is a man of high integrity and high intelligence and I am confident that he will do an excellent job guiding the vetting process in an effective, fair and transparent manner.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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