Jenkins highlighted as WOMEN WHO LEAD by Louisville Magazine

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 @ 1:11AM

Joni Jenkins, Kentucky’s 44th District representative since 1995 and current state Democratic Party vice-chair and chair of the Jefferson County legislative delegation, takes her responsibilities with a dose of humor. “You can defuse tense situations with a smile and a humorous remark,” she says.

Jenkins’ ability to expedite compromise and consensus led the bipartisan 25-member Jefferson County delegation to elect Jenkins as its chair in 2002. Since then, she has worked to persuade state legislators that investing in Jefferson County is a way to invest in Kentucky. In 2007 Jenkins plans to focus on education issues, UPS expansion and finding funding for other worthy projects.

Politics is in Jenkins’ blood. Her father, James Jenkins, served as Shively’s mayor for a decade. Her own 12 years in county government’s human resources department also helped prepare her for state politics. She serves on several legislative committees in Frankfort and on boards in Louisville that include Metro United Way, the Domestic Violence Prevention Coordinating Council, and Families and Children First.

When the General Assembly isn’t in session, citizen-legislator Jenkins, 48, recruits disadvantaged students for a career program at Jefferson Community and Technical College. She also feels that, as a representative for southwest Jefferson County, she speaks for constituents who “haven’t traditionally had a voice.”

Mark Sauer, principal of Crums Lane Elementary School, where Jenkins volunteers as a reading tutor, describes her commitment. “She’s awesome — always upbeat, positive, and wants to make a positive impact in the lives of children,” Sauer says.

Article originally appeared in Louisville Magazine:

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