Address to the General Assembly and the People of the 63rd District

August 4, 2019

Mr. Speaker, this is the 4th term I’ve been honored and privileged to have been elected by the good people of the 63rd District to represent them in Frankfort.

Ten years ago, in January 2009, I sat for the first time, in an elected political position, as a councilwoman for the City of Lakeside Park in Northern Kentucky. Before that, I had taken on the role of a volunteer for the campaigns of others, walking door to door, making phone calls, attending fundraisers – activities of which most of us in this room are acutely familiar. I was not born into a political family. I was not familiar with any state local politics. In fact, living overseas, I grew up with exposure to international politics and foreign affairs.

My orientation was in the world of business, both small and large. And so it was fitting, in 2017, when my party became the Majority in the House, that I was honored to be asked and to accept my role as Chair of Small Business and Information Technology, a new committee formed to address the needs of the backbone of our country’s economy as well as the expanding field of IT. I am grateful to the former Speaker of the House, the Gentleman from Russell, and the leadership team who had the foresight to move Kentucky into the future, placing us in step with our legislative peers in Congress. I am grateful for the expansion of that support, on so many levels, under you Mr. Speaker and our present Leadership. You are moving us forward into the future, all the while tackling monumental hurdles from the past. I applaud you.

I applaud my colleagues here in the House, all 99 of you, and those with whom I have been privileged to work with in the past, for making the sacrifices you have made and for accepting the challenges you have faced with grace. I urge you to meet new challenges, with hearts and minds, wide open. To both parties, I urge caution before accepting status quo as the only way of doing things, for that will impede the progress of our beloved Commonwealth and it will suffocate the light of the bright and inquisitive amongst us. Yet for those who believe the path forward is to extinguish the past, and all traditions, this is folly. Tradition and history ground us and give us roots, responsibility, and a baseline from which we can measure progress and failure. It is a necessary component to evolution.

And speaking of evolution, it is the right season in time for me to move on. As the Gentleman from Boone 60, broke it to you last Friday, I was recently married. We have a wonderful opportunity ahead of us to start our married life together under one roof (I’ll let you know how that works out – I may be back who knows!) with exciting new business opportunities for both of us. But know that my roots remain in Kentucky – my house, my daughter and son-in-law and my first grandchild expected in January, my son and daughter-in-law near Ft. Campbell, and my friends. And so I know I will be back frequently, and within a few years for retirement.

I am so blessed to have been entrusted to carry the immense responsibility of representing the people of the 63rd District. It truly has been an honor and a privilege to have worked for you at home and in Frankfort. It has equally been an honor and a privilege to work with my colleagues – each and every one of you. Ours is a bond that is forged out of respect for the unique work that we do and the close relationships we form regardless of ideological differences. Only those in this type of service understand how we can go from arguing against each other’s position on the floor or in committee meetings, to having a cup of coffee or a bourbon together at a restaurant. I will miss this. I will miss you.

I will miss our tremendous LRC staff without whom we ALL know we could not do the business of the people. I have worked with so many, but I will name three who have been instrumental on bills that have taken considerable time to prepare and which have undergone numerous iterations – Matt Trebelhorn on my drone bills of 5 years, Dale Hardy on my animal welfare bills, and Chris Joffrion on Medical Marijuana – which I continue to believe is the only hope for so many of our Kentuckians for whom I will continue the fight, even from afar. You have worked so hard to give life to our dreams. I thank you.

And I want to give special thanks to my legislative assistants – in particular, Rose Mack, Daniel Anderson, Leslie Burgher, Doris Bailey, Holly Tate, and Shannon Guarnieri. You have put up with a lot!!

Aso, I have to speak from my experience on behalf of our lobbyists. They do their homework. They work hard. They have integrity, are respectful, educated and YES, are persistent. They are part of the pipeline of our education on issues. Invaluable in that regard. I thank all of you as well.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, and most importantly, I would like to thank my constituents of the 63rd District, the community, business, and elected officials for their unwavering support of my seven years of service on their behalf. You have my everlasting gratitude for giving me the opportunity to participate in moving our region and our Commonwealth forward.

And so Mr. Speaker, my friends-members of this body, it is both with great joy and profound sadness, that I will be resigning as State Representative of the 63rd District. God bless you, and God bless the Commonwealth of Kentucky.