Obama adds Kentucky presence to White House team

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 06, 2014 11:00 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will add a popular Kentucky Democrat to his team at the White House, naming Jerry Abramson, the state's lieutenant governor who was mayor of Louisville for 21 years, as director of intergovernmental affairs.

Abramson, who starts in his new role Nov. 14, will work with state and local officials on issues like the upcoming open enrollment period for health insurance and increasing the minimum wage, a White House official said.

He joins the White House as it prepares to shift gears after the midterm elections to work with a Republican congress, where Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell is a leading figure, and more Republican governors elected on Tuesday.

"The President has selected a longtime veteran of both state and local government who has extensive experience working across party lines and with leaders from public and private sectors to strengthen Kentucky's economy and expand access to quality, affordable health insurance," the White House official said.

Abramson was chairman of Kentucky Health Now, and worked with Governor Steve Beshear to expand Medicaid in the state and launch the popular state-run health insurance exchange.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Bernadette Baum)