Sunday, January 30, 2011

New secretary of state vows transparency

In a speech after being sworn in yesterday, new Secretary of State Elaine Walker pledged to maintain openness in the office that oversees Kentucky elections and certain business records.

Walker, mayor of Bowling Green for the past six years, said her broad goal will be to ensure that the integrity of the office continues, and "It's critical to be transparent."

Kentucky elections are largely run by county court clerks, and Walker said her top priority is working with the 120 clerks in an effort to see that those in smaller counties have the same resources as those in larger counties.

Gov. Steve Beshear, a fellow Democrat who appointed Walker, said in his speech before she took the oath that the secretary of state should see that elections are run fairly, smoothly and honestly. "Kentucky's history is rife with examples to the contrary from time to time," he said, so the secretary of state should have a reputation for honesty and integrity.

Walker was named to fill the 11 months remaining in the term of Republican Trey Grayson, who resigned to become director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University. She said Grayson has given the office a strong foundation in civic engagement, and "I plan to use my media background to take us to the next level." Walker and her husband are filmmakers who moved from Los Angeles to Bowling Green in 1993; her parents were Polish immigrants who lived in "a steel town in West Virginia" and taught her that "Leadership is not just an honor, but a responsibility," she told the crowd in the nearly full Supreme Court chamber after being sworn in by Chief Justice John Minton Jr.

Walker, 59, is running for a full four-year term and faces a primary challenge from Allison Lundergan Grimes, 33, daughter of longtime Beshear foe and former state Democratic chairman Jerry Lundergan, both of Lexington. Beshear made his choice clear yesterday, telling the crowd that he looks forward to working with Walker for the next year, and "I look forward to working with her for several years in the future." Beshear is running for a second term.

(Bowling Green Daily News photo by Joe Imel; for the paper's story by Andrew Robinson, click here.)

No comments:

Post a Comment