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State Auditor Crit Luallen was the guest speaker at the Oldham Chamber & Economic Development quarterly dinner Tuesday night at the Glen Oaks Country Club.
Members gathered to elect new board members, honor high school students that participated in the Oldham County Chamber Leadership Co-op, as well as to celebrate the graduates of the 2011 Leadership Oldham County class.
Luallen spoke of leadership stating she had seen both successful and poor leadership since her work began in 1974.
She shared with the audience that successful leaders were ethical in their professional and personal lives, accepted accountability to the people they served, and were able to make good decisions based on strong leadership principles.
Working her way up from an entry level position Luallen recalled her first run for office when she was stopped by an elderly man and asked if she truly intended to run.
“I told him yes I was, and he said, ‘Well, you might not win, but you’ll look good.”
Luallen used the story to transition to the ongoing hurdles women in politics still face today.
And while her tenure is coming to a close in September, she said she wanted to take some time off before considering any future political moves.
During Luallen’s time in office as state auditor her office exposed millions in fraud, inappropriate use of funds, and theft of taxpayer dollars.
In her speech she cited cases of boards entrusted with taxpayer monies that did not know the employees they were appointed or elected to manage were using those monies to lease limos and private jets, fund vacations, pay themselves inflated salaries and even pay strippers and escort services.
She said these instances were some of the most horrendous found, but that in every county there are boards assigned to oversee taxpayer dollars and that everyone should pay attention to how the money is being spent.
As she closed her speech she reminded Oldham County resident in attendance that Kentucky is the fifth most impoverished state in the United States and that every dollar is important as Kentucky itself is poor.
Her sense of pride for the job she and her staff had done over the years was evident, but she left with the message there is still a long way to go to strengthen the state’s budget.
After the event, Luallen greeted several members of the audience and as she left was asked if she’d run for governor.
“I’ll support Beshear for now. We’ll see about the future.”
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