Fresh off their historic wins in the General Assembly, Kentucky House Republicans are strategizing this week at a retreat in Bowling Green.
The GOP caucus has 23 new members heading into the 2017 legislative session. Republicans control the state House for the first time since 1921, and maintain a comfortable majority in the Senate.
Representative Jim DeCesare of Warren County says he expects economic issues will dominate the session.
“We’re not just competing with Tennessee and Indiana. We’re competing on a global basis now for jobs and industries," DeCesare told WKU Public Radio. Being centrally located within a day’s drive of 70 percent of the nation, we’re situated perfectly to grow our economy.”
Republicans are expected to push several measures that they think will make Kentucky more business-friendly, including right-to-work and tax reform.
Those issues will be heard in the Economic Development and Workforce Investment Committee, which will be chaired by Representative DeCesare. Committee chairs for the next two years were announced at this week’s retreat.
Kentucky House Speaker-Elect Jeff Hoover says his goal is to have at least one Democrat serving as vice-chair on each committee.
"Historically, traditionally, we've had Republican vice-chairs on committees when we were in the minority and I just think it makes the process better," Hoover told WKU Public Radio.
House members elected to chairmanships of standing committees include the following:
Agriculture: Richard Heath, Mayfield
Appropriations & Revenue: Steven Rudy, Paducah
Banking & Insurance: Bart Rowland, Tompkinsville
Economic Development & Workforce Investment: Jim DeCesare, Bowling Green
Education: John Carney, Campbellsville
Elections, Constitutional Amendments & Intergovernmental Affairs: Kenny Imes, Murray
Enrollment: Donna Mayfield, Winchester
Heath & Family Services: Addia Wuchner, Florence
Judiciary: Joe Fischer, Ft. Thomas
Licensing, Occupations & Administrative Regulations: Adam Koenig, Erlanger
Local Government: Michael Lee Meredith, Brownsville
Natural Resources & Energy: Jim Gooch, Providence
Small Business & Information Technology: Diane St. Onge, Lakeside Park
State Government: Jerry T. Miller, Eastwood
Tourism & Outdoor Recreation: Tommy Turner, Somerset
Transportation: Marie Rader, Mckee
Veterans, Military Affairs & Public Protection: Tim Moore, Elizabethtown