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Gov. Beshear announces administration appointments

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear announced several leadership appointments within his administration.

“Our commonwealth possesses a deep well of talented people with tremendous dedication and a breadth of knowledge and experience, and I am excited to have so many of them in my administration,” said Gov. Beshear. “The appointments I am announcing today will play to the strengths of these capable professionals, allowing us to continue to build that better Kentucky we all want for our families.”

Mary Elizabeth Bailey of Frankfort has been named as deputy secretary of the Personnel Cabinet.

Bailey has worked in state government, specifically in human resources, for more than 25 years. In her recent role as commissioner of the Department of Human Resources, she oversaw the administration of the commonwealth’s employment application process, state payroll functions, official personnel records for state employees, the state classification and compensation system and the statewide performance management program. Bailey attended Kentucky Wesleyan College, where she majored in business administration.

“I am incredibly excited and honored to be appointed,” said Bailey. “I am passionate about human resources and supporting the workforce needs of our hardworking state employees; together, we are making the commonwealth an employer of choice.”

Matt Sawyers of Lexington joins the Governor’s Office of General Counsel as a policy advisor.

Sawyers served as deputy secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet from 2009 to 2015 and has extensive state government experience. Most recently, he was the executive director of the National Association of Shell Marketers, which represents companies across the United States with supply agreements to wholesale Shell Oil branded petroleum products and lubricants.

“I am incredibly excited to join Gov. Beshear’s administration and contribute to his team’s track record of accomplishments, made all the more impressive considering the unprecedented times through which he has governed,” said Sawyers.

Taylor Payne of Lexington has been appointed chief deputy general counsel for the Governor’s Office.

Payne, a Henderson native and graduate of Transylvania University and Saint Louis University School of Law, previously served as deputy general counsel to the Governor. Before that, he served as an assistant attorney general in the Office of Civil and Environmental Law under then-Attorney General Beshear.

“It has been an honor to serve Gov. Beshear for the past three years, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve the Governor in this new role,” said Payne.

Charles Booker of Louisville will head the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and Community Involvement, which was first established by former Governor Ernie Fletcher.

A native of Louisville’s West End, Booker represented the 43rd district in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 2019 to 2021. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in political science and a Juris Doctor.

“I am honored to join Gov. Beshear and his administration and inspired to take on this opportunity to continue to serve to the people of Kentucky,” said Booker.

Mona Juett of Owenton will serve as chief of staff in the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet under the cabinet’s new secretary, Lindy Casebier.

Juett is a veteran of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, having served since 2007 in various roles, such as research director, legislative director, assistant director for resorts within the Department of Parks, and most recently, as deputy commissioner of the Department of Tourism. Prior to her career in state government, she was marketing manager for The Council of State Governments in Lexington. Juett is a graduate of Morehead State University.

“The Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet plays an important role in the economy and cultural fabric of our commonwealth, and I look forward to putting my experience to work in continuing the cabinet’s efforts,” said Juett. “I am honored to serve as chief of staff and to partner with the Beshear administration in promoting Kentucky’s many arts, culture and tourism riches.”

Kennina Porter of Louisville has been appointed as executive director of the Everybody Counts program in the Education and Labor Cabinet.

Porter has more than 15 years of experience working with youth and young adults ages 16-24 within the public education and nonprofit sectors. Her career has been dedicated to enriching the lives of students from diverse academic, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds through student recruitment, youth program development, training and education administration.

In her previous role as the director of scholarship and student success at Evolve502, Porter led the implementation and management of a district-wide last-dollar scholarship, establishing cross sector partnerships and working to increase postsecondary degree and credential attainment in Jefferson County.

“I am passionate about the work I do, because there is nothing more rewarding than to see a young person discover their path,” Porter said.

Porter is a Radcliff, Kentucky, native and graduated from Western Kentucky University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast communication and a master’s degree in adult education.

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