LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 8, 2018) — The longest-serving mayor in Louisville’s history who later became Kentucky’s lieutenant governor, Jerry Abramson, will be honored Nov. 16 in Lexington as the 2018 inductee to the Kentucky Public Service Hall of Fame.
In addition to Abramson’s recognition, Greg Hager, staff administrator of the Kentucky General Assembly’s Program Review and Investigations Committee, will be honored as the Martin School’s Distinguished Alumnus for 2018. The awards will be presented during the school’s annual Alumni and Friends Dinner at UK’s Hilary J. Boone Center.
“Mayor Abramson has achieved a truly remarkable career that spans four decades of public service," said Ron Zimmer, professor and director of the Martin School. “He has served at all levels of government — local, state and federal — and he is most deserving of this recognition for his many contributions to the betterment of his community and our state.”
Abramson served a total of 21 years as Louisville’s mayor, where he earned the nickname “Mayor for Life.” His three consecutive terms as mayor of the City of Louisville (1986-1999) were followed by two terms as mayor of the merged Louisville Metro Government (2003-2010). During his tenure as mayor, Louisville experienced unprecedented growth and progress. Abramson also was president of the National Conference of Mayors from 1993-94.
He left local government to serve as Kentucky’s lieutenant governor in Frankfort under former Gov. Steve Beshear from 2011-14. He then joined the Obama administration in Washington in November 2014 as director of Intergovernmental Affairs, a position he held until January 2017.
Prior to being elected mayor, Abramson was a two-term Louisville alderman. Later he served as counsel to former Gov. John Y. Brown Jr. Abramson is a graduate of Indiana University and the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington D.C., after which he returned to Louisville to join the law firm of Greenebaum Doll & McDonald. He also practiced with Frost Brown Todd.
Abramson currently is executive in residence at Spalding University in Louisville. He has taught classes at the University of Louisville’s College of Law and at Bellarmine University. He has been a guest lecturer at many other colleges and universities, including Harvard University, Georgetown University, Boston University, Indiana University and UK. He and his wife, Madeline, have a son, Sidney, and a daughter-in-law, Kandice.
Hager grew up on a farm in Kentucky, learning the value of work and an appreciation for agricultural policy. Thinking that he wanted to be a lawyer, he majored in political science and earned his bachelor’s degree at UK. Hager discovered that he was more interested in public finance and administration than law. He was admitted to the Martin School in 1983, receiving his master’s degree in public administration in 1985.
Hager eventually entered the political science doctoral program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating in 1995. He then became an assistant professor of political science at UK, with a joint appointment in the Martin School until 2000, when he began working for the Kentucky General Assembly. Since 2002, Hager has been the staff administrator for its Program Review and Investigations Committee, where he researches how state programs work and how they could be improved.
He and his wife, Teresa, live in Versailles.
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