The Chatter: New state budget director; Stumbo downplays a Grimes 2014 campaign

11/19/2012 05:43 PM

Jane Driskell, who has served as finance commissioner for Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, will return to the state budget office where she got her start in public administration 27 years ago.

Gov. Steve Beshear named Driskell as the state budget director, which shifts some duties away from Mary Lassiter. Lassiter started the Beshear administration in 2007 as budget director and took on the added responsibility of secretary of the governor’s cabinet in 2009. She will remain secretary of the cabinet.

Driskell started her career as a budget analyst during Gov. Martha Layne Collins’ administration — when Beshear was lieutenant governor. She also held key jobs in Louisville and Lexington city governments.

From Beshear:

“Budget director is one of the most important positions of any administration, especially during the difficult financial times we have faced. I appreciate the wisdom and counsel of Mary Lassiter over the years in this position, and I look forward to Jane stepping in and continuing our expertise in the budget office.”

Stumbo eggs on tax commission, downplays a Grimes U.S. Senate run

In an interview with WFPL’s Kenny Colston, Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo
urged the governor’s tax commission to go bold and said Alison Lundergan Grimes “hasn’t given me any indication” she’s seriously considering running for U.S. Senate.

Grimes, who is finishing her first year as secretary of state, is among the top Democratic contenders to take on Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014. She confirmed to Pure Politics that she is receiving encouragement to run but wouldn’t say if she plans to.

On the tax issue, Stumbo told Colston he hoped the governor’s blue ribbon commission on tax reform didn’t shy away from controversial approaches to revamping the tax code.

“What I see them doing is backing away from the tough issues and there’s no reason for them to do that. I mean politically, they’re supposed to be operating in a void, where politics or things don’t come into play when they make these recommendation,” he said.

Stumbo didn’t give any examples in the article of the group backing away from issues.

But the comments prompted this tweet from the personal Twitter account of Lourdes Baez-Schrader, spokeswoman for the Senate Republicans, which perhaps hints at the expectations for the governor’s committee, which is supposed to make recommendations next month:

Kentucky GOP Congressmen reserve comment on Rice appointment

Ninety-seven U.S. House Republicans expressed their opposition on Monday to seeing President Obama nominate U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as the next secretary of state. But none of Kentucky’s members of Congress were on that list.

The 97 Republicans issued a letter to the president on Monday, according to Washington Post


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