Former State Rep Eddie Ballard Dies

Praise is pouring in for former Kentucky Rep. Eddie Ballard of Madisonville, who died at age 81.

Before retiring from the legislature last year, Rep. Eddie Ballard would rise from his desk each day the House was in session and ask the Speaker to excuse all absent members.

The ceremonial duty was generally the most Ballard spoke on the floor. He wasn’t prone to long-winded speeches. But everyone knew where the Democrat and self-employed businessman stood on the issues, especially veterans’ affairs.

In fact, lawmakers made sure the Western Kentucky Veterans Nursing Home in Hanson was named for Ballard, who served in the Air Force.

Among those praising Ballard is Gov. Steve Beshear. “Eddie Ballard was a stalwart of his community.”

House Speaker Greg Stumbo called Ballard “one of the most authentic people I know and a tremendous advocate for his constituents.”

By Tony McVeigh

Veteran broadcast journalist Tony McVeigh has been covering Kentucky politics since 1986, reporting for Clear Channel Communications before joining Kentucky Public Radio in 2004. His stories are aired by seven KPR affiliates, whose signals blanket the Commonwealth and parts of surrounding states. McVeigh began his broadcasting career at WRFC in Athens, Georgia, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. He has extensive anchor/reporter experience, including stints with South Carolina Network and Georgia Radio News Service in Atlanta. In 2007 and 2008, McVeigh was named Best Radio Reporter in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also picked up consecutive AP Awards for Best Political Coverage. McVeigh won four Kentucky AP Awards in 2009, six in 2010 - including Best Political Coverage and Best Hard News Feature - and three in 2011. His coverage of the 2007 Kentucky governor's race topped the Political Reporting category of the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards of 2008. In 2009, McVeigh placed second in Courts and Law Reporting in the Atlanta-based competition for journalists in 11 Southern states. McVeigh is also the proud recipient of an Individual Liberty Award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Brunswick, Georgia, native is a die-hard UGA football fan who enjoys photography, astronomy, live music, hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge and exploring the state's beautiful back roads. McVeigh and his big, fat, black cat Simon, reside in Frankfort, KY.