Candance Castlen Brake, president of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce, and two former Owensboroans are among 50 women named to the Kentucky Gazette’s “Notable Women in Politics and Government.”
Joining Brake on the list are Joanna Decker, chief policy director for the House Democratic Caucus, where she is in charge of developing policy initiatives and crafting legislation for the caucus; and Gay Dwyer, who has spent more than 40 years representing clients in Frankfort.
She currently serves as a contract lobbyist for General Motors, H&R AgriPower, Commonwealth AgriEnergy, Paducah & Louisville Railway, and Century Aluminum.
Laura Cullen Glasscock, editor and publisher of the Kentucky Gazette, said the women highlighted in the second annual edition of the list “hold advanced degrees and vast ranges of experiences, and they share their decades of experience to make Kentucky a better place.”
She said, “The world of politics and public affairs is still very much a male-dominated realm, and the inroads women are making in the field are getting wider, albeit more slowly in some places than others.”
Glasscock said, “Of the 27 newly elected members of the Kentucky General Assembly, only six — one senator and five representatives — are women.”
The total count is six women among the state’s 38 senators and 31 of the 100 members of the House of Representatives.
Glasscock said, “In the administration of Gov. (Andy) Beshear, five of 11 cabinet secretaries and the governor’s chief of staff are women.”
Three of the seven members of the Kentucky Supreme Court are women, as are seven of the 14 members of the Kentucky Court of Appeals.
Glasscock said, “Women make up about a third of the more than 600 registered lobbyists in Frankfort, representing a range of clients and causes.”
She said, “The Kentucky Gazette asked readers and social-media followers to nominate women who have had an impact on public affairs, politics and government in Kentucky.”
She said, “We know the 50 women selected for inclusion this year have one thing in common: They are highly respected by their peers, colleagues and collaborators.”
Brake, president of the local chamber of commerce since 2015, served three terms on the Owensboro City Commission from 2004 to 2010.
Before that she served as executive vice president of the chamber and of the Economic Development Corp., and as deputy judge-executive.
Brake currently serves on the Owensboro Health Board of Directors, Wendell H. Ford Government Education Center and is a member of the Kentucky Chamber’s Local Chamber advisory board.
She said, “I am honored to be included on the list with so many notable colleagues around the Commonwealth.”
By Keith Lawrence Messenger-Inquirer