On January 7, 2011, Governor Steve Beshear announced he would appoint Mayor Elaine Walker to the office of Secretary of State, filling the vacancy created by the impending resignation of Secretary Trey Grayson. At that time, Mayor Walker said "It is an honor to be selected by Governor Beshear to serve the Commonwealth as Secretary of State. I pledge to the Governor and to all the citizens of Kentucky that I will perform the functions of this important position in an honorable, thoughtful, and dedicated manner. The Office of Secretary of State has special significance to me since it was the first statewide office in Kentucky where a woman, Emma Guy Cromwell, was elected to serve in 1923."
Elaine Nogay Walker, her husband Dorian, and their two young children moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky, in the summer of 1993. In February 1994 she and her husband established Peridot Pictures Corporation, the largest producer of national television programming in the Commonwealth.
Experienced in government, Elaine Walker served as Legislative Press Aide to two United States Congressmen (Washington, D.C.) and Press Deputy to the President of the Los Angeles City Council (Los Angeles, California.) In 2004 she was elected the 39th Mayor of Bowling Green, Kentucky, and assumed office on January 1, 2005. At the time of her appointment as Secretary of State, she was serving her second term as mayor--the first in the city's history to be elected to two successive terms.
Mayor Walker is the second Kentucky mayor to be elected to the highly competitive Board of Trustees for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. She also served as Chair of the International Relations Committee and was Chair of the Women Mayors of America's Cities from 2007-2009. In May 2010 Walker was one of four U.S. mayors chosen to participate in the Sino/U.S. Mayors Summit in Chengdu, China, exploring environmental and sustainable development issues with mayors from across China. Also at the time of her appointment, Mayor Walker was serving as President of Kentucky League of Cities, Treasurer of the Barren River Area Development District, and was active on numerous public and private boards and commissions. She was designated by MSNBC as one of the nation's 15 Greenest Mayors for her interest in environmental concerns.
Prior to entering public service, Walker was Public Affairs Director for KCAL-TV in Los Angeles, California, and worked in communications with various companies and organizations in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
Proud of Kentucky's rich history, Elaine and Dorian Walker have promoted their community and state on such national television programs as "America's Castles" and "Restore America." For their efforts to preserve local historical landmarks, they have received such tributes as the Ida Lee Willis Preservation Award (2004); the Landmark Association Heritage Award (2002); and the Operation PRIDE Award for Residence (2000).
Professionally, the Walkers received the Gold Award for Family Films, WorldFest Film Festival (2002); an Emmy nomination in 1993; Angel Silver Award, 1993; International Cindy Award (1993); Parents Choice Award (1992); National Emmy Nomination (1991); Los Angeles Press Club Editorial Award (1990); and Angel Award of Merit (1989).
As the daughter of a World War II decorated Air Force bomber pilot and career military officer and the wife of a decorated Vietnam veteran, Elaine Walker recognizes the importance of volunteer service in the community. For her efforts, she has been recognized by such organizations as NOSOTROS, Vietnam Veterans Aid Foundation, Sojourn Shelter for Battered Women, Keep Los Angeles Beautiful, Los Angeles Unified School District, the American Cancer Society, and the Los Angeles Department of Children's Services.
Elaine Nogay Walker was administered the Secretary of State Oath of Office Saturday, January 29, 2011, at noon, in the Supreme Court Chamber of the Kentucky State Capitol by Chief Justice John D. Minton, Jr. She is the seventh woman in the history of the Commonwealth to serve as the Secretary of State.