Experts: Eastern Kentucky likely to benefit from Stivers appointment

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - Manchester State Senator Robert Stivers has been tapped to replace outgoing Senate President David Williams.

This is the first time someone from Eastern Kentucky has been chosen to preside over the State Senate since the office was created in 1992.

Experts we talked to say between Stivers and House Speaker Greg Stumbo, Eastern Kentucky is set to be very well represented in the General Assembly.

With Greg Stumbo leading the House of Representatives and Robert Stivers set to take the reins of the Senate, experts say increased appropriations to projects in Eastern Kentucky are not out of the question.

"With bipartisan representation in both chambers from Appalachia, it should give us a very good opportunity to set that legislative agenda," said Benny Bailey, an adjunct professor of political science at Hazard Community and Technical College.

Bailey says the last time Appalachia was this well-represented in the General Assembly was during the late 1990s, a time he says was a period of investment in Eastern Kentucky.

"It's where all the justice centers came, the new building behind us on Hazard's campus came from, the veteran's center here in Hazard," Bailey said.

Stivers says he is honored to be chosen by his caucus to lead the Senate. When compared with his predecessor, the Manchester Republican says he hopes to have a better relationship with Governor Steve Beshear.

"Does it necessarily mean we will agree? No it does not, but we can at least have a productive dialogue that is not couched in 'gotcha' politics," Stivers said.

House Speaker Stumbo extends his congratulations to Stivers.

"I look forward to working with him, I look forward to addressing some of the challenges we have, not only in Eastern Kentucky but all across Kentucky with him," said Stumbo.

While Stivers says he will serve as Senate President for the whole state, being a voice from Eastern Kentucky will naturally bode well for the region.

Stivers will begin his fifth term in the Senate, and he will officially become Senate President, when the 2013 General Assembly convenes in January.

Hazard Senator Brandon Smith has also been selected to serve as Majority Whip.


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