UPDATE: 8/7/09 - Friday afternoon - Governor Beshear appoints Larry Hayes as Cabinet Secretary. Budget Chief Mary Lassiter will take over as Secretary of the Cabinet
Hayes in Lead for New Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Job
Most Kentuckians aren’t aware that jobs in Kentucky are not the sole purview of the Governor. During the Jones Administration, legislation was passed that set up the Economic Development Partnership Board to manage job creation in Kentucky. The Partnership Board is composed of thirteen members. Eight private-sector members represent each of the state’s congressional districts and different sectors of its economy. The secretaries of four Cabinets – Economic Development, Finance and Administration, Environmental and Public Protection, and Tourism, Arts & Heritage – serve as public-sector, ex-officio members. The Governor serves as chairman of the Partnership.
On August 5th, 2009, the Economic Development Partnership Board voted to accept a report from its consultant for a national search in selecting a new leader for economic development in Kentucky. As a result, Governor Beshear was handed three names from which to choose the next Secretary for the Economic Cabinet.
This list is made up of includes two men and one woman. Sources close to the situation expect that the name at the top of the list, Larry Hayes, has the job if he wants it. He has the right of first refusal. The governor is expected to make a final selection within the next 5-8 days. The other two names, Chad Newell and Rhonda Rice, both live outside Kentucky.
Larry Hayes has been on the job for several months, serving as Interim Secretary of the Economic Development Cabinet. At the same time, he continues to serve as Secretary of the Governor’s Cabinet.
Of all the functions of state government, the act of creating new jobs, holding on to existing jobs, and designing a vision of future economic development has been one of the most fought over activities in Kentucky modern history.
Starting in 1974 up through 2007, the state economic development structure, form, function and mission has been reorganized a total of 214 times by 8 governors. One extreme example was the first year of Governor Brown’s administration. In one month, Economic Development Commissioner Larry Townsend reorganized the Cabinet 28 times.
The common thread running through all attempts to find the right fit of programs to visions was the need for each incoming governor to create new jobs. Some succeeded. Many failed to create a working balance of new jobs against the realities of Kentucky being a poor state.
The next two years are critical because a Democratic president has been elected and a new domestic agenda is being crafted within the White House. Kentucky could play an important role in helping to frame that new domestic agenda as it relates to
a new 21st Century south.
The stakes are very high. Kentucky stands at a crossroads in its history. To be successful, the state must move forward under the design of a bold strategic plan for job creation. To accept what is in place is the same as accepting the status quo. Many judges and mayors in Western Kentucky believe that the economic development status quo is broken and not capable of moving into the future.
If Hayes accepts the challenge of crafting a new economic development strategy for
the 21st Century and is able to bring new jobs into Kentucky, he will have achieved for Governor Beshear a true lasting legacy for this administration.
However, Governors Jones, Patton, and Fletcher failed to master the control and leadership over the Economic Development Partnership Board. Now, it’s Governor
Beshear’s turn to define a vision for Kentucky’s future. The new secretary of the
Economic Development Cabinet must be the one person to make that vision a reality.
LARRY HAYES - THE MAN
Hayes has served extensively in state government. From 1983 through 1987, Hayes was Secretary of the Executive Cabinet and State Budget Director. This was the years of Governor Martha Layne Collins administration. Before that he was the Executive Assistant to the Kentucky State Senate President for six years.
Hayes cut his governmental experience within the Area Development Wars of the 1970’s. He succeeded Jim Peel as the second Executive Director of the Lincoln Trail Area Development District from 1976 through 1978.
The decade of the 1970’s witness the formation of Kentucky Regionalism in which the Area Development Districts beat out the University of Kentucky for control over the flow of federal funds into Kentucky.
Before joining this administration, Hayes was the Deputy Major and Secretary of Finance and Administration Cabinet in the City of Louisville, Kentucky serving Mayor Jerry Abramson. Rumors continue to swirl that Hayes was the real matchmaker behind Steve Beshear’s choice of Hayes’ old boss as his running mate for his 2011 re-election campaign.