Knox Senator wins ‘best in nation’

From left, Mark Funkhouser, publisher of Governing Magazine and his staff, presents Senator Robert Stivers with the National Public Official of the Year award at ceremonies held in Washington, D.C. last week.
From left, Mark Funkhouser, publisher of Governing Magazine and his staff, presents Senator Robert Stivers with the National Public Official of the Year award at ceremonies held in Washington, D.C. last week.

In Kentucky, we understand what being the best in the nation means. From basketball to horseracing, we know that even when blessed with great talent, becoming number one also requires focus, skill, some luck, and tremendous amounts of old fashioned hard work.

Now, Kentucky can boast of having the nation’s best in a new arena – political leadership. Senate President Robert Stivers just brought the “Public Official of the year” trophy home to Kentucky.

 

“To be honored nationally, in Washington DC, I take this, and receive it with great pride, not for my self, but for the area I come from.” Stivers said in accepting the award, adding  “You cannot accomplish anything by yourself in politics…the real winner tonight is not me, but my constituents who put me here.”

 

From literally thousands of state legislators serving in state capitals across the county, Governing magazine’s elite selection committee chose Stivers for his ability to overcome political gridlock. They were impressed by how Stivers as Senate President kept the support of his fellow republicans in the Senate while also working across the aisle with a democratic governor and democratic house speaker to achieve many positive results for Kentucky citizens. Specifically, his efforts to combat illegal drugs like heroin, and his success in fixing road fund shortfalls by establishing a floor on the gas tax earned him praise from the committee.

“After the partisan campaigns and elections are over, we all have to sit down and figure out what the policy will be.” Stivers said. The committee also praised the Senate President for his desire to be inclusive and open lines of communication.  Even during his acceptance speech, Stivers acknowledged his political opponents. “We knew we had differences, but we tried to reach out and find the common points,” Stivers said, commending Governor Brashear and other democratic leaders for their willingness to work with him to get things done.
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Governing is a nationwide publication that for over 20 years has focused on state, local and national governance issues and leaders. Its publisher, Mark Funkhouser, presented the award to Stivers.

The presentation ceremony at the historic Willard Hotel in Washington DC, drew a list of political celebrities. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stopped by to congratulate Stivers.

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers, left, speaks to U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, right, while Mountain Advocate publisher Jay Nolan and Knox County Clerk Mike Corey look on.
Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers, left, speaks to U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, right, while Mountain Advocate publisher Jay Nolan and Knox County Clerk Mike Corey look on.

 

Kentucky Congressmen Hal Rogers, Brent Guthrie, and Andy Barr all came directly from a house floor vote to honor and support him.

Locally, Knox County Clerk Mike Corey, Clay County Clerk James Phillips, and former Beattyville Mayor Charles Beach III joined Stivers and his wife Regina in celebrating his honor.

 

 

 

 

Stivers poses with his award alongside his wife and other dignitaries, including U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers and Knox County Clerk Mike Corey.
Stivers poses with his award alongside his wife and other dignitaries, including U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers and Knox County Clerk Mike Corey.

In addition to Stivers legislative honor, the magazine also recognized one governor, one county level executive, a mayor, a state medical director, a transportation manager, a prosecutor, and two first responders. The senator from Kentucky greatly enjoyed meeting the other distinguished honorees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From left, New Orleans mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu, Mountain Advocate publisher Jay Nolan, and Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers talk.

From left, New Orleans mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu, Mountain Advocate publisher Jay Nolan, and Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers talk.

The senate President even took a few photos for some of them with their staff during the honoree reception.

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers takes photos of the crowd with his cell phone.

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers takes photos of the crowd with his cell phone.

Stivers, from Manchester, represents Kentucky’s 25th district. It includes Clay, Knox, Lee Owsley, Whitley and Wolfe counties. He says now he is looking forward to working with newly elected Republican Governor Matt Bevin. He also says he hopes to help our government fix the state pension system crisis and grow the state’s economy.