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As new Council Prez, Owen denies King

by Joe Arnold


Posted on January 8, 2010 at 5:45 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 8 at 1:58 AM

In a party line vote, Democrat Tom Owen defeated Republican Ken Fleming to become President of the Louisville Metro Council.  And, as reported by The Courier-Journal's Dan Klepal, Owen flexed his muscle, denying mayoral candidate Jim King's quest to serve as Democratic Caucus Chair.  Instead, the post went to Madonna Flood.

CJ:  Mayoral candidate Jim King, D-10th, had lobbied to become his party's caucus chair. But Owen said he wanted King, a certified public accountant, to be chairman of the Budget Committee and didn't think he should do both. King disagreed, but backed away from trying to win the caucus chair.

“He's in a sprint to May,” Owen said of King's candidacy and the coming primary election. “I think it's too much responsibility to hold both positions.”

News Releases:

Tom Owen elected Metro Council President for 2010
Louisville – Metro Councilman Tom Owen (D-8) has been elected to serve as Council President for 2010 following a vote on Thursday night by a vote of 15 to 10.
            “I am grateful for your confidence in my skills to effectively lead Louisville’s Metro Council,” Owen told members. “I have served as an elected official in local government sixteen of the last twenty years and we are all trusting that those years of testing will abound to the benefit of this Council and City.”
            Owen was first elected to the Louisville Metro Council in 2002 as one of its founding members representing District 8. He was re-elected in 2004 and in 2004. He was also a former member of the Louisville Board of Aldermen from 1990 to 1998.
“Buffeted by revenue shortfalls, unsettled by anticipated changes in the Metro mayoral leadership, and engaged in the tough work of putting flesh on the bones of our merged government, 2010 will be a unique and challenging year!”
            The new President said his priorities for the coming year:
1.       Patience in listening to the concerns of Council Members with regard to their goals and concerns for the city
2.       An determined effort to shorten the distance between the Mayor’s Office and  the Council Chambers with regard to cooperation
3.       A better understanding of the problems and concerns of people who live in all 26 districts. The effort will include an early visit by Owen to Each Council Member in their district. He will arrive by Bicycle, bus or on foot.
4.       And an effort of what the President calls “Heads up!” In a year of mayoral campaigning, there will be an encouragement of rigorous debate but discouragement of gotcha politics, surprise attacks and personal vendettas
            Owen, a U of L Archivist and Louisville Historian, chaired the Planning/Zoning & Land Development and Designed committee from 2008 to 2009. In 2009, he was Vice Chair of the transportation and Public Works Committee and was also a member of the Labor and Economic Development Committee.
            “To this Citizens of Metro Louisville, This Council pledges our attention and interest in those concerns that touch your community life,” said Owen.

Councilwoman Madonna Flood elected Majority Leader

George Unseld, Vice-Chair of Democratic Caucus
Louisville – On Thursday, Councilwoman Madonna Flood (D- 24) was elected by her peers to serve as Democratic Caucus Chair and Majority Leader for 2010. Councilman George Unseld (D-6) was selected as Vice-Chairman of the Caucus.
            “I look forward to working with my colleagues to move this community forward, especially in these tough economic times,” said Flood. “There are many challenges facing us in the months ahead.”
            Flood was a founding member of the Metro Council representing the Okolona Area of District 24 in 2002. She was re-elected to a four year term in 2004 and 2008.
            “We have an opportunity to do some good things for this community,” said Unseld. “I am ready to get to work to help the citizens of our city.”
            Unseld represents the Old Louisville area including the California Neighborhood as part of District 6. He is also a founding member of the Metro Council. He was re-elected to a four year term in 2004 and 2008. He is also a former member of the Louisville Board of Aldermen.
            Both Flood and Unseld were elected by a unanimous vote of the Majority Caucus in its first meeting of the year.