I am honored to have been named Acting Secretary of the Kentucky Labor Cabinet by Governor Beshear. I pledge to you, as I did to The Governor, that I will give my maximum effort in carrying out the mission of this office.
We are fortunate in Kentucky to have a leader such as Governor Beshear to guide us through these tough economic times. The Governor recognized early in his administration the importance of our workforce by elevating Labor back to Cabinet status and concentrating on retaining, expanding and attracting jobs for those workers. He has continued to emphasize the importance of a safe, healthful and quality workplace that is conducive to cooperation between management and workers.
We at the Labor Cabinet have the opportunity to work with many of our finest employers in a cooperative effort to ensure that this atmosphere continues to thrive and spread across our Commonwealth. The success of our voluntary partnership programs in promoting a safe and healthy workplace is unsurpassed in the US and helps lead to an environment of economic opportunity for all.
As employers are strained by the severe economic forces, some choose to cut corners on safety or fail to compensate workers equitably. Although we at the Labor Cabinet have experienced the same economic stress, we continue to respond vigorously to those workers who are endangered in the workplace whether physically or financially.
The Labor Cabinet has experienced eight budget reductions in the past three years but our employees continue to perform admirably under these conditions in carrying out our mission. I want to thank them for their commitment and dedication.
I want to extend my congratulations and best wishes to Secretary JR Gray and his wife Yvonne on his retirement. JR dedicated the greater portion of his life to the benefit of Kentucky’s working men and women. His career in the Legislature was unequaled in service to working families and as Labor Secretary he led the way in re-establishing the Cabinet to its previous stature. Thank you JR and we wish you many years of happiness and relaxation.
As I begin my tenure as Labor Secretary, I want to thank all of you who have called or written with words of encouragement and congratulations. As always, my door is open and I am only a phone call away. I will look forward to your wise council as we work together with Governor Beshear and other leaders to move our Commonwealth forward for the common good.