Jerry Hoover was one of the architects of modern West Kentucky

Ivan Potter

Another friend has departed this timeline.

In today's (10-1-19) Paducah Sun, mention of Jerry L. Hoover's passing was made. Many people in Paducah and West Kentucky may remember him from his early professional days as a Church of Christ Minister. Some may remember him in his actions as Executive Director for the Paducah Chamber of Commerce. In this position, Jerry worked hard to secure money for the Paducah McCracken County Convention Center. Central to this location was the opening in 1982 of the Executive Inn.

This is where I first met Jerry. He, along with other bright young leaders like Richard Lewis from Benton were establishing a new regional power base to lobby Louisville, Lexington for trade shows and Frankfort for economic development monies.

Hoover, Lewis, Mike Miller, and Dick Castleman became a local force for the early success of the Purchase Area Development District. During the 1970's, Governors Louie Nunn, Wendell Ford, and Julian Carroll, each and collectively pushed this sleepy state into the future. Hoover did it with major buildings in Paducah. Lewis did it as one of the founding fathers of Area Development District Regionalism.

From his many hours of lobbying state government and the Kentucky General Assembly, Jerry acquired a taste for this new world of his. During the late 1980's he was a special assistant State Auditor Bob Babbage. When Bob was elected Secretary of State, Jerry followed him into office.

Hoover was one of Bob's "fix it men." If there was a West Kentucky problem or opportunity facing the Secretary of State, Hoover was the lead staff to fix it.

These were the years men and women built regionalism into local and state government. At this time, Kentucky Regionalism was the best in America.

Jerry was one of those shoulders that modern West Kentucky was built on.

Thank you, Jerry for your journey. Thanks for the long days of behind the thrones of power, and sound advice in making the foundation for a truly great 21st Kentucky.