Secretary of State
Grayson Releases Report on Diversity in Kentucky Leadership
(Frankfort, KY) Following up on the lauded Opening Doors of Opportunity: Empowering and Inspiring Kentucky Women to Public Service report that detailed the leadership that many women are providing across the Commonwealth, Secretary of State Trey Grayson released today United We Stand: Encouraging Diversity in Kentucky’s Leaders, a similar report that looks at racial diversity in Kentucky’s leaders.
“Kentucky’s leaders continue to become more diverse, and we should be proud of that fact,” remarked Grayson. “But the reality that our leadership in this state does not represent the diversity of our population still remains. There are a number of potential great leaders in Kentucky who would diversify the leadership of our state in both elected and appointed positions. It is my hope that this report will serve as a resource and encouragement to those individuals to seek public office.”
The report detailed that minorities represent one state senate district and five house districts or 2.63% and 5.0% respectively. Those figures are considerably below the 11.3% of the Kentucky population that are races other than white (and non-Hispanic origin) as reported by the 2004 U.S. Census Bureau statistics.
The report did include some encouraging statistics. Non-whites are now represented on the Kentucky Supreme Court, circuit courts, and district courts. There are also a number of individuals serving as county commissioners and magistrates, mayors, city councilmembers and school board members. Unfortunately, there is still a large dearth of diverse elected officials even at the local level. At the federal level, Kentucky is represented by diverse leaders in Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Kentucky Amul Thapar.
African Americans make up a large portion of the diversity of Kentucky leadership. Only a few other minority racial categorizations are represented in Kentucky leadership.
In addition to statistics about the progress of diversity in Kentucky leadership, the report provides a number of resources to help individuals position themselves to be effective leaders in their communities. It includes a database of racially diverse elected officials from across the Commonwealth.
The report features sections on Secretary Chao, Mayor Mike Irby, Justice William McAnulty, Representatives Reginald Meeks and Darryl Owens, as well as Georgia Powers, the first African-American elected to the Kentucky State Senate.
“We must take a more active approach in order to gain a more diverse set of leaders for our Commonwealth,” remarked Grayson. “In addition to simply spotlighting the need for more diversity in our leadership, this report should serve as a catalyst for individuals to become more involved in their communities and possibly run for elective office.”
The report is thought to be the first of its kind in Kentucky. Grayson acknowledged the report highlights only a small sampling of the diverse leadership that exists in the Commonwealth. He noted that the goal of this report was to serve as a base of study that can be used for further research at a later date. Specially, Grayson stressed how important it was to have this study prior to the upcoming elections. “With so many races on the ballot in 2006, we will be able to compare the diversity in our leadership after these elections to the figures in this current report to see if we are making any progress.”
The Opening Doors of Opportunity report followed a similar version commissioned under former Secretary of State Bob Babbage's administration. Grayson noted that he hoped future Secretaries would continue to update these reports during their administrations as well.
The report can be accessed via the Office of the Secretary of State's website at http://www.sos.ky.gov/secdesk/initiatives/diversity.
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