03/09/2011 4:22PM

Brereton Jones leaving Kentucky lobbying post


Brereton Jones, a former governor of Kentucky and the owner of Airdrie Stud, has resigned as chairman of a Kentucky horse racing lobbying group that he helped form and direct for nearly the past seven years.

Jones has been the only chairman of the organization, the Kentucky Equine Education Project, or KEEP, since it was launched in 2004 to generate support for legislation favorable to the racing industry. KEEP’s efforts have been most closely identified with lobbying for casino-type gambling at state tracks, efforts that have so far been unsuccessful.

Jones, a Democrat who was governor from 1991-1995, said the he wanted to step aside to allow new leadership to take a role at KEEP.

“There comes a time when most people have had as much political involvement as they care to have,” Jones said. “I’ve reached that point.”

Over the past three years, Democrats have supported the industry’s efforts for legislative authorization of casino-type gambling, while Republicans have stood either in outright opposition or in favor of a public referendum. Jones was asked whether his identity as a leading Kentucky Democrat had made KEEP’s effort to gain Republican support more difficult.

“We can find out by seeing what happens with a change of leadership” at KEEP, Jones said.

Patrick Neely, the executive director of KEEP, said that board members will elect a new chairman at an already scheduled meeting on March 29.

Neely credited Jones for applying his political skills to KEEP.

“As a former governor, he understood the political ramifications as well as the industry side of it,” Neely said. “He really helped us steer a course.”