House makes committee assignments, six new to chairmanships

House leaders released committee assignments this morning that included six new faces in committee leadership, including Rep. Rick Rand, who will replace long-serving Appropriations and Revenue Committee chairman Rep. Harry Moberly

Rand, a Bedford Democrat, said he is up to the challenge, and will be leaning for a time on Moberly, who served for 14 years as head of the House budget committee. 

“It’s exciting and I look forward to it,” Rand said. “I appreciate the confidence that House leadership has in me.”

Moberly, a Richmond Democrat, lost the chairmanship with a change in House leadership this week that included the election of House Speaker Greg Stumbo of Prestonsburg. Moberly backed Rep. Jody Richards of Bowling Green, who had held the speaker’s post for 14 years. 

Moberly noted that he gained the chairmanship in 1995 with the change in the House speakership. 

“Any knowledge or experience I have will be at their disposal,” Moberly told reporters. “We’re going to all have to cooperate and stick together because we have the most difficult times that I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”

The state is facing a $456.1 million budget shortfall this year, and lawmakers, particularly those on the budget committees in the House and Senate, expect to work through the three-week recess to develop a plan to deal with that budget gap.

Rep. Tommy Thompson had been rumored to be in the running for the Appropriations and Revenue Committee chairmanship, but instead landed a spot as chairman of a budget review subcommittee on education. 

Thompson had served as chair of the House Banking and Insurance Committee for the past two years, and said the move to the budget subcommittee was a promotion. 

The committee will be looking specifically at primary and secondary education, which Thompson noted makes up about 45 percent of the state’s budget. 

“I am really honored that the leadership had the confidence in giving me a budget committee chairmanship that’s responsible for the biggest portion of the budget,” Thompson said. “I really enjoyed Banking and Insurance as a chair, but they gave me a choice and this is a promotion.”

Other new faces in committee leadership include Rep. John Tilley of Hopkinsville, who will chair the House Judiciary Committee; Rep. Jeff Greer of Brandenberg, who will chair the Banking and Insurance Committee; Rep. Carl Rollins II of Midway, who will chair the Education Committee; Rep. Rick Nelson of Middlesboro, who will chair the Labor and Industry Committee; and Rep. Dennis Keene of Wilder, who will chaie the Licensing and Occupations Committee. 

Richards, who returns to serving on committees after losing the speaker’s post, will serve on the Appropriations and Revenue Committee, a first for him, and on the Education Committee. 

Rep. Jim Gooch of Providence also retained his spot as chair of the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee. 

Read more about the assignments in Saturday’s Messenger-Inquirer.

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