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Friday, October 26, 2012

MORE KENTUCKY NEWS: KENTUCKY GOVERNOR, STEVE BESHEAR, MAKES AN EXPECTED MOVE AND APPOINTS HIS POLITICAL NEMESIS, SENATOR DAVID WILLIAMS, CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE. A WISE SMART MOVE FOR BOTH MEN.



Kentucky Senate President David Williams appointed as circuit judge

In a move that dramatically changes Frankfort’s political landscape, Gov. Steve Beshear on Friday appointed his political nemesis David Williams as a circuit judge.

The appointment, which takes effect Nov. 2, was made in an executive order released by the Secretary of State’s Office on Friday afternoon.

It marks the end of Williams’ 27-year legislative career and nearly 13 years where he was often Frankfort’s dominant political force as president of the state Senate.

“Senator Williams is an experienced lawyer and is familiar with the district, having represented the area in the legislature for more than 20 years,” Beshear said in a statement Friday afternoon.

The move came as a result of the unexpected death on Sept. 17 of Eddie C. Lovelace, circuit judge for Clinton, Cumberland and Monroe counties.

Williams, an attorney, is from Cumberland County. Initial speculation of Williams’ interest in an appointment to fill the vacancy, and Beshear’s interest in appointing him, evolved over the ensuing weeks into a widely accepted belief in political circles that Beshear would appoint Williams.

On Thursday a judicial nominating commission nominated Williams and two others for the appointment.

And Beshear, who had 60 days to make the appointment, pulled the trigger Friday.

The appointment is for two years remaining in Lovelace’s term.

Williams, 59, of Burkesville, was first elected to the House in 1984 followed by election to the Senate for seven terms. In 2000, he was elected by a new Republican majority as Senate president — a title he has held until Friday.

He and Democrat Beshear have clashed bitterly and repeatedly since Beshear’s first election as governor in 2007.

Last year Williams won his party’s nomination for governor and ran to prevent Beshear from winning a second term. But Beshear won re-election in a landslide, capturing 56 percent of the vote to 35 percent for Williams with the remaining 9 percent going to the late Gatewood Galbraith, an independent.

Williams’ departure from the legislature creates a vacancy both in the Senate’s 16th District (Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Monroe, Wayne and Whitley counties) and in the Senate presidency.

Senate Republicans, virtually certain to retain a majority in the chamber after November’s elections, will choose a new president during the first days of the 2013 regular session in January.

The governor will call a special election to fill the vacancy in Williams’ Senate seat. Candidates will be selected by Republican and Democratic organizations within the district.

Under a 2005 law that Williams supported, legislators who move on to a higher-paying job in the other branches can use the higher salary of the new job as the basis for their legislative pensions.

READ THE EXECUTIVE ORDER MAKING THE APPOINTMENT.

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