The top 5 most influential people of the week in Frankfort

01/05/2018 05:00 PM

FRANKFORT — It was a rocky first week back in the Capitol for lawmakers, as sides were drawn in a GOP civil war in the House, and members were chosen to investigate House Speaker Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, who has refused to step down from his position.

This session I’ll take a look each week and pick the most influential people in the General Assembly. With little legislation being discussed in the first four days back in Frankfort, this week’s list is based on the going’s on in the state Capitol, and less on the legislation filed.

1. House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect, tops the most influential people of the week. The Republican leader assumed the dais on Tuesday and brought the session to a start. Hoover relinquished his power temporarily to Osborne, making the Prospect Republican the top member in the House.

2. The gang of eight Republicans made State Government Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Miller, R-Eastwood, another influential member this week when they filed a complaint under new House rules calling for Hoover’s expulsion.

Under the House rules, Miller will serve as the chairman of the committee hearing testimony against Hoover, and will hold a tie-breaking vote between the six members of the committee.

3. Gov. Matt Bevin, R-Kentucky, may have caused some damage to himself in 2017 when he tried to force lawmakers to take on pension reforms amid an uproar from many in their communities; the Governor also aggressively called on House Speaker Jeff Hoover and three other lawmakers to resign, but Bevin gained back some influence on Thursday evening.

Several insiders say Bevin’s speech at the Kentucky Chamber Day Dinner was his best in recent years, and he found a way to reconnect with many lobbyists, insiders and lawmakers on the right.

4. Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, by title is a leading influencer, but it’s his work this week and the weeks leading into the session that is holding his caucus in the upper chamber together amid chaos in the state House.

5. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, D-Kentucky, bet correctly when she stymied efforts by the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity to gain Kentucky voter data in 2017. President Trump dissolved the commission this week, and Grimes took a victory lap. While the victory for Grimes will giver her little in the way of influence in the short term in Frankfort, it could give her a feather in her cap in a future Democratic primary as she now has a proven plank in standing up to Trump.

Honorable mention: Senate President Pro Tem Jimmy Higdon , R-Lebanon, assumed his new role this week, and wielded the gavel for the first time in the upper chamber.


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