Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Outgoing Secretary of State Named Parks Commissioner

Outgoing Kentucky Secretary of State Elaine Walker will become the commissioner of the parks department when she leaves office later this month.

Walker was appointed as the commonwealth’s chief election officer by Governor Steve Beshear in January 2011 to replace Trey Grayson, who took a post at Harvard University before the end of his term. Walker sought to retain the office, but was beaten by fellow Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in the May primary.

Grimes went on to win the general election and will be sworn in later this month.

Walker says as the former mayor of Bowling Green, she oversaw a number of park projects including Circus Square Park in downtown, Skate Park, Kummer/Little Recreation Center and a small neighborhood park at Lee Square.

“Our Kentucky State Parks are beautiful jewels that help support our communities and attract tourists. I look forward to working with the staff as we improve and protect our state parks,” she says.

Local News Politics

Secretary of State Predicts Low Voter Turnout

By Stu Johnson, Kentucky Public Radio

Just over a fourth of Kentucky’s registered voters are expected to cast ballots in next month’s election.

Secretary of State Elaine Walker predicts between 25 to 28 percent of eligible voters will show up for the general election in November.

While the statewide campaigns on the ballot are in the final stretch, there’s also a great deal of media attention focused on next year’s presidential race.

Walker says the presidential contest may be distracting voters and suggests constituents are generally pleased with Frankfort politics.

“You know, I’m not sure if the presidential race is having an impact on the local. It could but my feeling is more that people are not really angry with the state of the commonwealth,” she says.

Local News

Rubbertown Company Fined for Pollution Violations, Secretary of State Announces Breast Cancer Diagnosis, Ken Fleming Calls for Term Limits, $37 Million Retirement Pay for Gannett CEO Criticized: Afternoon Review

  • An aluminum company in Louisville’s Rubbertown neighborhood has agreed to a settlement with Metro Government in response to several alleged record-keeping and pollution violations. The proposed agreement fines Eckart America $668,250, and sets up a plan to help the company come into compliance with its permit.
  • Kentucky Secretary of State Elaine Walker announced she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Walker was diagnosed during a routine mammogram last week, where she learned after follow-up tests that the tumor was cancerous.
  • Louisville Metro Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7, has drafted a resolution asking the General Assembly to reduce the number of consecutive terms the mayor can serve from three to two, and limit city lawmakers to three terms.
  • Critics say Gannett CEO Craig Dubow‘s $37.1 million in retirement and disability pay is excessive, since Dubow oversaw roughly 20,000 layoffs at Gannett media outlets, including the Courier-Journal. Dubow is stepping down due to medical issues.
Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Kentucky Secretary of State Diagnosed With Breast Cancer

Kentucky Secretary of State Elaine Walker announced Thursday she was diagnosed with breast cancer and is telling the public to help raise awareness that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Walker was diagnosed during a routine mammogram last week, where she learned after follow-up tests that the tumor was cancerous. Walker is among 3,000 women and men who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in Kentucky this year.

“It is now part of my life and my family’s lives even though, like so many people, there is no family history. The good news is that it appears that because of the early diagnosis and nature of the tumor, the prognosis is excellent,” she says.

The secretary of state’s office says Walker is in the process of meeting with doctors to determine the best course of treatment going forward. She noted that for anyone those are private and personal decisions she plans to make with her family, but that it was important for her as a public office to bring attention to the disease.

“What isn’t private is the need for all Kentuckians to be aware of the risks and treatments for breast cancer. Any cancer is frightening for anyone but this is the type that women most fear because it rocks who we are as women,” says Walker.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Johnson Files Ethics Complaint Over Homeless Voters

After denouncing the State Board of Elections for telling county clerks to approve voter registration cards that have “homeless” listed under the address, Republican Secretary of State candidate Bill Johnson has filed an ethics complaint Thursday against the panel and Secretary of State Elaine Walker.

Last week, the Todd County businessman called on Walker to resign and has made the issue of homeless voters a centerpiece of his campaign against Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, who supports the right of the homeless to list “place-to-place” under the address portion of the application.

Johnson says he is concerned about possible voter fraud and claims the board is violating the state constitution for instructing clerks to approve those registrations.

From the Herald-Leader:

“The homeless, like all Americans, have the right to vote,” Johnson said in his complaint. “However, to exercise that right to vote, all persons must register using the voter registration form and meet residency and precinct requirements.”

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Beshear Records Robocall Supporting Walker

In today’s closely watched Democratic primary election for secretary of state, Governor Steve Beshear called voters on behalf of incumbent Elaine Walker, who faces Lexington attorney Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Beshear appointed the former mayor of Bowling Green to fill the remainder of former Secretary of State Trey Grayson’s term in January, but had kept Walker at arm’s length up until now.

In March, Walker said the governor was helping her raise campaign money.

Asked about Beshear’s supposed support of her opponent, Grimes told WFPL the governor had not made an “open, public endorsement” in the race despite Walker’s wishes.

“I think he is leaving this decision, this race, this primary to the voters of Kentucky,” Grimes said.

From B&P:

So much for not intervening.

Local News Politics

Polls Open, Near Record Low Turnout Expected

Kentucky elections officials are predicting the second-lowest voter turnout for a primary in more than 10 years. Secretary of State Elaine Walker predicts 10% of voters will go to the polls today.

The most notable race in the primary is the Republican race for governor. State Senate President David Williams has led in polls. He’s being challenged by Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw and Louisville businessman Phil Moffett. Governor Steve Beshear is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

The polls opened at 6am this morning. They’ll close tonight at 6pm. If you’re in line at 6pm, you’ll be able to vote.

The May 1999 primary drew the lowest percentage of voters – just 6.4% of those registered.

Courier-Journal Voter Guide

Local News Politics

In Depth: A Look at The Democratic Secretary of State Candidates

By Brenna Angel, Kentucky Public Radio

The race for Kentucky Secretary of State features four candidates—two Republicans and two Democrats—who want the job of overseeing the commonwealth’s elections and business filings.

Kentucky Public Radio’s Brenna Angel takes a look at the two Democratic hopefuls, Elaine Walker of Bowling Green and Alison Lundergan Grimes of Lexington.

Audio MP3

Fifty-nine year old Elaine Walker is the incumbent candidate, although she has been Secretary of State for only a few months since Governor Steve Beshear appointed her to the position after Republican Trey Grayson left for a job at Harvard.

She previously served as mayor of Bowling Green.

“I’m the only experienced candidate with the proven leadership of creating jobs. And I think that means a lot to voters when they know that someone is qualified, someone is experienced,” says Walker.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Walker Launches TV Ads

After giving her campaign a personal loan, Kentucky Secretary of State Elaine Walker was able to launch a television advertisement in her Democratic primary contest against challenger Allison Lundergran Grimes.

This is a bit of a surprise considering Walker initially said she wasn’t going to go beyond direct mailers and robocalls, but the former mayor of Bowling Green appears to be taking this race seriously—albeit in the last few days of the campaign.

In the 30-second commercial, Walker highlights receiving the appointment from Governor Steve Beshear and says she understands the importance of “protecting every vote” in state elections.

From cn|2 Pure Politics:

Grimes has outpaced Walker in fundraising by a 3-to-1 margin and has received endorsements from almost every major Democratic party official. This race appears like a landslide, however, with a 10 percent voter turnout projected for next week there could be an upset.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Conway, Mongiardo to Co-Chair Grimes Campaign

With less than a week until the primary election, Democratic secretary of state candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has announced that Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo will serve as statewide co-chairs of her campaign.

Grimes is seeking the party’s nomination in a closely watched race against incumbent Secretary of State Elaine Walker, who was appointed by Governor Steve Beshear earlier this year to serve the final 11 months of former Secretary of State Trey Grayson’s term.

In an interview with WFPL, Grimes says she is honored the two rivals came together to support her candidacy and she believes it represents a united Democratic front heading into the May 17 primary.

“I think having Jack Conway and Daniel Mongiardo by my side demonstrates their confidence and belief that I’m the person that can help get that job done. That I’m the person that this state, that this party needs right now and I’m hopeful that will translate on Election Day to voters who are going into that voting booth,” she says.