Beshear to appoint former auditor Crit Luallen new Lt. Gov.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 6, 2014) – Kentucky’s Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson will resign effective Nov. 13 to take a new position as deputy assistant to President Barack Obama and director of intergovernmental affairs in the White House, and Gov. Steve Beshear will appoint former state Auditor Crit Luallen as the state’s new second-in-command.
Beshear announced the resignation and appointment today in the Capitol’s formal State Reception Room, flanked by his current and incoming lieutenants.
“This is a bittersweet moment for me and for our administration,” Beshear said. “Jerry and I have been friends for more than 30 years, and I chose him as my lieutenant governor because I knew that his extensive experience as longtime mayor of Louisville, his contagious enthusiasm and his knack for building momentum around new ideas would make him a great partner in leading our state. But the White House noticed all those skills, too, and realized that he will take those same gifts and put them to work on our nation’s domestic agenda. He will be an outstanding addition to the President’s administration, and we will miss him terribly.”
Abramson’s role is to be the nexus between the president’s domestic agenda and city, county, state, and tribal governments. He will help state and local governments manage policy issues and challenges such as infrastructure, natural disasters and public health.
Abramson said during this morning’s news conference that he was first contacted by the White House about an upcoming opening in the position two months ago. After spending a day at the White House discussing the job and later being offered, Abramson already has an apartment leased in the nation’s capital.
“The challenges that face America’s local communities – such as workforce training, education, infrastructure investment, shrinking budgets, affordable housing, public transportation, and emergency response – are the issues that I’ve worked on for more than 30 years in local and state government. I’m honored to be in a position to help this country’s mayors, county executives, governors and other local officials tackle these issues and work to find innovative solutions,” said Lt. Gov. Abramson. “I’m grateful to Gov. Beshear for bringing me on board three years ago, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done together to bring jobs to our state and to strengthen Kentucky families. My experience in the Kentucky Capitol will be vital as I step into my new role.”
In addition to serving as a key advisor to the governor, Abramson led multiple initiatives for the administration. He served as chair of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform, and launched a statewide version of “Close the Deal,” a program he created while mayor of Louisville to give high school students the tools they need to navigate applying to college. Abramson also chairs the kyhealthnow initiative, which seeks to improve several of Kentucky’s worst health statistics over the next few years.
“The good news is that now, there’s a Kentuckian in the White House,” Beshear said. “What an asset for our state to have someone who understands Kentucky’s needs and can make a direct appeal on federal decisions and policies.”
In his new position in the West Wing of the White House, Abramson will report to Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to the president and assistant to the president for public engagement and intergovernmental affairs.
“The White House is gaining a leader who has a deep understanding of government and knows the needs of cities and metropolitan areas,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “Frankfort is gaining a leader with a deep understanding of Kentucky and its unique needs. Our entire commonwealth — and especially the citizens of Louisville — are deeply proud of both Jerry Abramson and Crit Luallen.”
Luallen reiterated at the news conference that she has no plans to seek elective office. She noted that she has endorsed Attorney General Jack Conway in the 2015 race to elect a governor to succeed Beshear.