Friday, July 27, 2001

Democrat resigns party posts

Arlene Akin Jones cites dominance of Rep. Lucas

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BURLINGTON — Boone County Democratic Party official Arlene Akin Jones has resigned from two key party organizations over what she perceives as the heavy-handed influence of U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas.

        Mrs. Jones has stepped down from the Boone County Executive Committee and from the Democratic Women's Group, saying she is frustrated that the party's wishes are not appreciated or considered when it comes to gubernatorial appointments.

        In an e-mail to party chairwoman Phyllis Jones — who is not related to Mrs. Jones — and again in an interview Thursday, Mrs. Jones said Gov. Paul Patton listens only to Mr. Lucas, and not party officials, when it comes to making appointments.

        “I'm tired of all our efforts being wasted,” Mrs. Jones said Thursday. “We can hold meetings, we can conduct lots of interviews, but our recommendations to the governor are ignored.

        “It's what the congressman wants, that's all that matters,” she said. “I'm not giving up on my Democratic principles, but I may become an independent because I just can't be a Democrat in Boone County under this leadership.”

        Mrs. Jones is still reeling from May, when Mr. Patton appointed Florence optometrist Tim Hamilton to an open county commissioner seat on the Boone County Fiscal Court.

        Mrs. Jones said she and other members of the Democratic Executive Committee favored Mike Lyons, an executive committee member and attorney from Florence.

        But Mr. Lucas, also a Democrat from Boone County who has close political ties to Mr. Patton, favored Mr. Hamilton, Mrs. Jones charged.

        Mr. Lyons, however, said Thursday that he had no problem with Mr. Hamilton landing the appointment.

        He also said that before Mrs. Jones joined the group, Mr. Patton followed the recommendation of the executive committee when making appointments.

        Mrs. Jones also claimed that Mr. Lucas used his influence with the governor on two other appointments to county positions.

        Paula Goff, who had worked on Mr. Lucas' staff, was appointed property value administrator. Mrs. Jones also went for the appointment, but was passed over. She ran against Mrs. Goff in the 2000 Democratic primary, but lost. Mrs. Goff was then defeated in November's general election.

        Mr. Lucas' son, Lance, was appointed county commissioner by Mr. Patton in 2000. He also lost in the general election.

        A Lucas spokesman said the congressman did not have a comment Thursday on Mrs. Jones' allegations.

        Mr. Patton could not be reached, but he and members of his staff have said in the past that the best people were chosen for all of the positions in Boone County.

        Mr. Hamilton said after his appointment that he and Mr. Patton know each other from their native eastern Kentucky and that he has been active in Democratic politics.

        He did not cite any connection with Mr. Lucas as a reason for getting the appointment.

        Phyllis Jones said the party is sad to lose Mrs. Jones, who has previously served as a deputy judge-executive in Boone County.

        “But I feel like this is her loss,” Phyllis Jones said. “Arlene is still upset about the governor's appointment of Tim Hamilton.

        “But it's simply not true what she is saying about Ken Lucas,” Phyllis Jones said. “Tim Hamilton has been very active in the party, and his background shows that.”


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