Crit Luallen ’74 appointed lieutenant governor of Kentucky
Gov. Steve Beshear has appointed Centre College alumna and current trustee Crit Luallen ’74 lieutenant governor of Kentucky. She took the oath of office in a private ceremony in Frankfort on Nov. 13, followed by a public swearing-in at the Capitol Rotunda at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 14.
Luallen fills the position being vacated by Jerry Abramson, who is headed to Washington, D.C. Abramson will serve as President Barack Obama’s liaison to state and local governments, as the Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.
A widely regarded public official who most recently served two terms as Kentucky state auditor, Eugenia Crittenden Blackburn Luallen comes from a long line of public servants who are no stranger to the State Capitol in Frankfort. Two of her ancestors served as governor of the Commonwealth: John J. Crittenden and Luke Blackburn.
Luallen began her career in politics in 1974 soon after her graduation from Centre with a degree in art. Her first role was stuffing envelopes in support of Gov. Wendell Ford’s 1974 U.S. Senate campaign, but she soon took on greater responsibility in terms of campaign communications.
This experience led to a similar role in Martha Layne Collins’ successful run for Kentucky governor in 1983. Luallen then served as a special assistant to Gov. Collins and as Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of the Arts. It was in this role that she helped spearhead creation of the Governor’s School for the Arts, which is now hosted at Centre College.
From there, Luallen’s long list of achievements includes service as vice president and then president of the Greater Louisville Economic Development Partnership, Secretary of the Kentucky Tourism Cabinet, Secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet and Secretary of Gov. Paul Patton’s Executive Cabinet. Her first elected role, as Auditor of Public Accounts, began in 2003, followed by a landslide re-election in 2007.
Despite her busy career, Luallen has found time for numerous volunteer roles, including service on the boards of the Kentucky Historical Society and the Louisville Downtown Development Corporation.
For her positive impact on state government in Kentucky, Luallen was named Public Official of the Year in 2009 by the D.C.-based Governing magazine.
John A. Roush, president of Centre, has worked with Luallen during his entire 16-year career at the College, and he has found in her a friend and valuable advisor.
“Because of her intellect, sound judgment, deep commitment to the people of Kentucky and great sense of personal integrity, Crit Luallen is uniquely well suited to serve the Commonwealth as its lieutenant governor,” says Roush. “We at Centre take great pride in her achievements and impeccable record of service to the state of Kentucky, as well as to her alma mater.”
Luallen was named a Distinguished Alumna by Centre College in 1994. Four years later, in April 1998, she was elected to the Centre College Board of Trustees. In addition to serving on the honorary degrees and nominations, finance and executive committees of the Centre board, Luallen chairs the development and public affairs committee.
In this role, Luallen works closely with Richard Trollinger, vice president for college relations, who says, “It is hard to imagine that Gov. Beshear could have found a more experienced or capable person to serve as his lieutenant governor. Crit Luallen is simply one of the most capable people I know.”
by Michael Strysick
Photo: From left to right: Crit Luallen, Governor Steve Beshear and Centre’s Board of Trustees Chairman Randal Kell ’69 at the College’s 191st Commencement on May 25, 2014.