Louisville gaining more influence in Kentucky House - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville gaining more influence in Kentucky House

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- As Republicans take control of the House for the first time in nearly a century, Louisville is going to have more influence.

Two Louisville-area lawmakers were elected Wednesday to the leadership of the new House GOP majority.

“Today marks an end, at least, to the day that many of us have been looking forward to for many, many years,” said Speaker-elect Jeff Hoover as he unveiled his leadership team.

The four were chosen by House GOP members behind closed doors:

David Osborne, Speaker Pro-Tem: He was first elected to represent District 59 (part of Oldham County) in the Kentucky House in 2005. In 2016, Osborne was vice chair of the Banking and Insurance Committee and the Licensing and Occupations Committee, and served on the Agriculture & Small Business Committee and the Tourism Development & Energy Committee.   

Jonathan Shell, Majority Floor Leader: Was first elected to represent District 71 (Garrard, part of Madison, and Rockcastle County) in the Kentucky House in 2012, as the youngest member of the General Assembly. He was elected by the GOP caucus to serve as the House Republican Campaign Chairman where he was in charge of overseeing all Republican recruitment for the 2016 House elections. Rep. Shell is a native of his district and helps run his family farm in Lancaster.   

David Meade, Majority Caucus Chair: Was first elected to represent District 80 (Lincoln, part of Pulaski County) in 2012. In 2016, he served on the Appropriations & Revenue, Banking & Insurance, State Government, and Veterans, Military Affairs, & Public Safety Committees. Rep. Meade lives in Stanford, and is a realtor and auctioneer.   

Kevin Bratcher, Majority Whip: He was first elected to represent District 29 (part of Jefferson County) in the Kentucky House in 1996. In 2016, he served on the Elections, Constitutional Amendments & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, the State Government Committee, and the Tourism Development & Energy Committee.  Bratcher served as a sailor in the Navy from 1985 to 1991.  

Bratcher and Osborne are from Louisville.

“I hope that sends a message to those folks that we believe and recognize the importance of the city of Louisville,” Hoover said.

In the past, Louisville has complained of being under-represented in House leadership, given its economic impact on the rest of the state.

“As a member of leadership, I’ll be looking at the entire state, what’s best for Kentucky as a whole," Bratcher said. "But there’s no denying that Louisville is a big part of the whole."

“Louisville is an economic driver in the state, and we’ve got to make sure that we recognize that and put forth business-friendly policies that will help them thrive and grow,” Osborne said.

Hoover says policies that help create jobs will be given top priority.

But as the new majority prepares for the 2017 session, social issues such as gay rights vs. religious freedom and abortion will likely be hotly debated on the house floor.

The new leadership is trying to manage expectations.

“There is a long list that many of us would like to get done but, realistically, we can’t do all of them in a short legislative session that’s coming up,” Hoover said.

The next step for the new House majority will be choosing leaders for the powerful house committees. Announcements could come next week.

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