One special area Gov. Steve Beshear wants his new Deputy Chief of Staff to focus on is his relationships with local and county officials.
Dan Logsdon has lived in the world of local government almost from birth.
Logsdon, 39, began his new job this week, succeeding Vince Gabbert who is going to work for Keeneland. But Logsdon grew up around county government and county officials – staring in his home county of Edmonson County where his dad, Ed Logsdon, was the youngest county judge in the state – and a Democrat in a heavily Republican county to boot.
"The best memories I have from childhood is my Dad and I spending a couple of weeks on the road driving around and visiting county officials when he was in various positions." Logsdon said this week.
His father later served as deputy secretary of transportation during the Wilkinson Administration and later was elected Agricultural Commissioner. The younger Logsdon has been around politics and government all his life.
"I’ve just got a fondness for what (local officials) go through and the issues they deal with," Logsdon said. "There’s just a connection there."
In addition to dealing with local officials, Logsdon will be in charge of constituent services, field services – preparing local officials and legislators when the governor is visiting their areas – and boards and commissions. He’ll also be a part of the governor’s inner circle of advisors.
"I'll be overseeing the day to day operations of the governor’s office and that includes scheduling, constituent services, boards and commissions and being a part of the senior staff team," Logsdon said.
The former Vice President for State Government Relations with Windstream Communications, Logsdon also previously served as assistant state treasurer under Jonathan Miller. The Edmonson County native has a history degree from Murray State University and lives in Lexington.
He’s also worked in his dad’s campaigns, in Miller’s run for treasurer and the state Senate campaign of Ray Jones of Pikeville in 2004.
Gabbert, the man Logsdon will succeed, has been heavily involved in political matters for the Democratic Party and Logsdon said the role of his office won’t change much.
Logsdon said he’ll be part of policy discussions and will work closely with lawmakers during legislative sessions. He said he has good working relations with House Democratic leaders and with Senate President David Williams’ staff.
He lobbied lawmakers in his job with Windstream, so he knows the ropes and the players. But he said he’s unlikely to take as big a role in Beshear’s signature legislative issue – expanded gambling at race tracks – as did Gabbert.
"I think I’ll just be a part of the legislative team in general," Logsdon said. "I don’t see myself taking any significant role in that (gambling) as far as a legislative initiative, although that could change."
Logsdon has known Beshear’s chief of staff, Adam Edelen, for several years as well as Communications Director Jay Blanton and Gabbert. So when Gabbert decided to leave the administration, the administration had Logsdon on a short list of replacements.
"I think the fact that I’m a known quantity to Adam and Jay – and even Vince – was a big part of the reason," Logsdon said. "They thought I would fit in with the team and they reached out to me and it was something I wanted to do."
He’s known Beshear for a while too, although they haven’t kept in touch over the years.
When Beshear was Lieutenant Governor from 1983 to 1987, Logsdon and a couple of his young friends visited Beshear’s office with his dad, Ed Logsdon.
"There’s a picture from 1982 (when Logsdon was 12) that ran in the Gimlet," (Logsdon’s hometown paper in Brownsville)," Logsdon said. "It was me and two friends of mine, my Dad and the Lieutenant Governor and I was sitting behind his desk. That’s the first time I remember meeting the governor."
Beshear has a bigger desk now. And Dan Logsdon’s desk is a couple of doors away. But Logsdon’s still in the middle of things, doing what has always interested him, he said – government and politics.
RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfortt. Reach him at email@example.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.
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