EKU Meets with Kentucky Legislators for Annual Colonels at the Capitol Day in Frankfort

Published on February 06, 2024

By Sarah Bashford

Members of the Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) community gained insight into Kentucky’s legislative session during the annual Colonels at the Capitol event held on Jan. 24, 2024. EKU's board of regents, faculty, staff and students were present at the event, engaging in discussions with state legislators.

The event began in the Capitol Rotunda as Gov. Andy Beshear met with members of the university. 

Beshear acknowledged EKU's innovation in preparing students for jobs of the future, saying, “What you all are doing is not just helping your students and helping your institution, but you’re helping move our Commonwealth forward.”

Following Gov. Beshear, EKU President David McFaddin reflected on the accomplishments EKU has achieved in recent years, adding sentiments of a bright future ahead for the School of Opportunity.

“What we do powers the workforce,” said McFaddin. “Our goal is to constantly evaluate the needs of today and of the future to always give back to the Commonwealth.”

EKU’s Colonels at the Capitol interns participated throughout the day. Many legislators who joined the event spoke of the internship program and how it has helped them during legislative sessions. EKU’s Spring 2024 legislative interns include: 

  • Laurie Abbott, Rep. Jennifer Decker

  • Destiny Baker, Rep. Cherlynn Stevenson

  • Brooke Byrd, Senate Democratic Caucus

  • Ethan Durham, Sen. Reggie Thomas

  • Alice Harkins, Rep. Sarah Stalker

  • Peyton Holmes, Sen. Brandon Storm

  • Nathan Lee, Sen. Steve West

  • Jessica Niehoff, Rep. Timmy Truett

  • Jenna Riel, Rep. Deanna Frazier Gordon

  • Paetyn Stritzinger, Rep. Dan Fister

  • Jakob Woods, Rep. James Tipton

  • Miranda Young, Rep. Keturah Herron

Additionally, EKU students Will Lampert and J.C. Bates currently work in House Speaker David Osborne’s office. Lampert shared his experience with the group, detailing his responsibilities and how the position has positively impacted his academic learning, as well as given him insights into careers he may pursue upon graduation.

“I think having students on the ground floor to realize how these things are done and the inner mechanisms behind the process of government is incredibly important,” said Lampert. “I cannot understate how thankful I am to be in this position.”

Participants spent the rest of the morning in conversation with state legislators including: House Speaker David Osborne, House Speaker Pro Tem David Meade, Rep. Josh Branscum, Rep. Josh Bray, Sen. Jared Carpenter, Rep. Jennifer Decker, Rep. Dan Fister, Rep. Deanna Frazier Gordon, Rep. Keturah Herron, Rep. Kim King, Rep. Bobby McCool, Sen. Brandon Storm, Rep. James Tipton, Rep. Timmy Truett, Rep. Ken Upchurch and Sen. Steve West.

“Colonels at the Capitol is a terrific way for EKU representatives to learn about key issues being discussed during the General Assembly and engage with policymakers to advocate for higher education,” said Amy Scarborough, EKU’s chief government, community and corporate relations officer. “EKU has innovative academic programs and our graduates are powering Kentucky’s economy. We will take every opportunity to highlight our work and advocate for our students, our region and the Commonwealth.”