Editorial: Promises kept

December 04, 2003

Two promises made; two promises kept.

That's what the appointment Wednesday of Lt. Gov-elect Steve Pence to the position of Justice Cabinet secretary adds up to.

During the campaign, Pence and Gov.-elect Ernie Fletcher promised that Pence would be a working lieutenant governor and that more would be done to curb the epidemics in Kentucky.

In one fell swoop, Fletcher has put Pence to work and has given fighting the drug problem a high priority in his upcoming administration.

Pence is well-qualified for the task. Before becoming a candidate for lieutenant governor, Pence was the U.S. attorney for the western district of Kentucky.


He's an experienced crimininal prosecutor. In the early 1990s, he was a lead prosecutor of Operation Boptrot, which was the FBI's code name for an investigation of bribery and influence peddling in and around the General Assembly. Pence successfully prosecuted former House Speaker Don Blandford and Bruce Wilkinson, who was the appointments secretary for his uncle, then-Gov. Wallace Wilkinson.

It's also worth noting that Pence also was able to persuade another former U.S. attorney, Joseph Whittle, to become general counsel of the Justice Cabinet. That puts two high-powered prosecutors at the top of the state's law enforcement system.

Both Fletcher and Pence have spoken eloquently about the lives and families destroyed by the twin scourges of methamphetamine and OxyContin, particularly in the state's rural areas.

Kentuckians have good reason to believe now that their campaign promises to do more about this problem were more than empty rhetoric.

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