Former Louisville mayor leaving White House job


LOUISVILLE (AP) — Former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson has spent the last 20 months working in the West Wing of the White House. He says once the Obama administration exits, he doesn’t know what he will do, but says he’s coming home.

“I’ve told Hillary I’m not staying,” Abramson said.

In Washington, he is the president’s chief liaison with states, counties and cities. It’s a big title: Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.

The long workdays and being away from family has the popular former mayor longing for Louisville.

“I miss a lot of things,” he told The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/2ahuNU8). “I wasn’t there when (his son) Sidney got engaged,” Abramson added. “He got engaged in October, and I missed it. It’s been tough.”

Abramson, who will turn 70 in September, said he’s not certain what he will do when he returns but said he enjoyed teaching at the university level.

But he said he doesn’t think that becoming the next U of L president is an option because he expects the school to hire someone who is younger.

He served as mayor of Louisville from 1986 to 1999 and again under the new merged government from 2002 to 2010, when he was tapped to be former Gov. Steve Beshear’s lieutenant governor.

In Washington, Abramson often meets with Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama. Most of his work is done in the shadows, unlike during his time as mayor, when he was seen as someone who craved the spotlight and excelled in it.

After Congress failed to act on Obama’s call during his 2015 State of the Union address for free community college, “we then took that as a charge to see where we could take that on the state and local level,” Abramson said.

“The next thing you know, Tennessee passes it, the next thing you know, Oregon passes the free community college law, Delaware passes it and Minnesota passes it,” he said. “Since just this past January, eight local communities have offered some form of tuition-free community college.”

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