Rick Howlett

Rick has been a member of the WFPL News team since 2001 and has covered numerous beats and events over the years.   Most recently he’s been tracking the Indiana General Assembly and the region’s passion for sports, especially college basketball.

Beshear names Luallen to succeed Abramson

Nov 6, 2014

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has chosen former state Auditor Crit Luallen to serve as his lieutenant governor in his final year in office.

Luallen will replace Jerry Abramson, the former longtime Louisville mayor who is stepping down as lieutenant governor to accept a job in President Barack Obama's administration.

She worked for several governors dating back to the 1970s, and rose through the ranks to become secretary of the executive cabinet in then-Gov. Paul Patton's administration.

Luallen said she quickly accepted Beshear’s invitation to be Lt. Governor.

Indiana House of Representatives

Indiana lawmakers in the Republican-led House Tuesday passed the gay marriage amendment after removing language that would ban recognition of anything “similar” to same-sex marriage.     That change would also lengthen the process of amending the state constitution, but the clause could be reinserted by Senate Republicans.

Measure sponsor Rep. Eric Turner disputes claims by opponents that the ban would hurt economic development. "In 2013, eight of the top nine states with the highest rate of private sector job growth had constitutional amendments on marriage."

In a $16 billion deal this week, Japanese beverage giant Suntory announced it plans to purchase Beam Inc., the maker of Jim Beam bourbon and the owner of other popular bourbon brands like Maker's Mark.

Those and most other bourbons are made in Kentucky, and the deal has some hoping the drink's growth in the global market won't come at the expense of its uniquely Kentucky heritage.

University of Louisville fans have had a lot to cheer about lately — and not just basketball.

Monday's big victory by Louisville's men's basketball team over Michigan is just the latest success for the school and for an athletic department that is quickly becoming one of the country's most admired.

In January, the football team upset fourth-ranked Florida to win the Sugar Bowl, and coach Charlie Strong turned down a lucrative offer from the University of Tennessee to continue rebuilding the Louisville program.