Outgoing Kentucky Secretary of State Elaine Walker will become the commissioner of the parks department when she leaves office later this month. Walker was appointed as the commonwealth’s chief election officer by Governor Steve Beshear in January 2011 to replace Trey Grayson, who took a post at Harvard University before the end of his term. Walker sought to retain the office, but was beaten by fellow Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in the May primary.
Grimes went on to win the general election and will be sworn in later this month.
Walker says as the former mayor of Bowling Green, she oversaw a number of park projects including Circus Square Park in downtown, Skate Park, Kummer/Little Recreation Center and a small neighborhood park at Lee Square.
“Our Kentucky State Parks are beautiful jewels that help support our communities and attract tourists. I look forward to working with the staff as we improve and protect our state parks,” she says.
Kentucky Department of Parks, Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Marcheta Sparrow says Walker will begin her duties with state parks on January 2. She will replace Gerry van der Meer, who resigned after nearly four years as commissioner.
“Elaine Walker’s experience as a manager will be a good fit for Kentucky State Parks,” Sparrow said. “Elaine has demonstrated her skills as a mayor and as secretary of state and we look forward to having her oversee our park system.”
Last month, Walker announced she's undergoing treatment for breast cancer.