New state parks commissioner is former Kentucky lawmaker

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky has a new state parks commissioner after the previous head of the agency left last month, state officials said.

Russ Meyer of Nicholasville, who recently resigned as state representative, was named parks commissioner by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

Meyer replaced Robert Haley Conway of Georgetown, who ran unsuccessfully last year as the Democratic nominee for state agriculture commissioner. Conway served as parks commissioner for about six months after he was appointed by Beshear on Feb. 1.

Conway “resigned from the Department of Parks in early September,” said Danielle Jones, a spokeswoman for the state Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, which oversees the parks department. She did not comment on why Conway left.

She said Meyer became parks commissioner at the end of September.

Meyer announced in January he would not be seeking re-election. He had held the state’s 39th House District that covers parts of Fayette and Jessamine counties since 2015.

Democrat Carolyn Dupont, a history professor at Eastern Kentucky University, and Republican Matt Lockett, a financial advisor, are running to fill the 39th House seat.