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MO Building Trades Elect First Female President; KY Building Trades Pres. Named State Secretary of Labor

Gina Walsh


State Senator Gina Walsh has been unanimously elected the new President of the Missouri State Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO. She becomes the first women to hold the position. She currently also serves as the Minority Caucus Secretary in the state senate. 

Missouri has recently become a hotbed in the war on workers thus Walsh’s strong presence will be needed to fight legislation such as “Right-to-Work” and “Paycheck Deception.”

Walsh told the St. Louis/Southern Illinois Labor Tribune:

“My voice will be the voice of the working men and women of this state,” Walsh said. “I’m really honored to have been elected to this position because my passion is supporting the people that do the heavy lifting in our state.”

Prior to her election to Senate, Walsh served four terms in the state House of Representatives representing the 69th District in North St. Louis. She also has the distinction of being the first woman to complete the apprenticeship program of the Heat and Frost Insulators Local 1. Missouri labor leaders like Jeff Aboussie, St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council President, praised the election of Walsh:

We look forward to Gina continuing to always champion the cause of the building trades as she has done throughout her career as a legislator,” said Jeff Aboussie, executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council .
That Walsh is a legislator is critical, Aboussie said, for the influence and access she’ll be able to provide.

“That position has always been held by a legislator as long as I can remember,” he said. “That position of a legislator is critical because they have the ability to get into rooms and open doors that sometimes our people don’t have relationships with. When you have to talk about legislative issues and talk about initiatives and talk about infrastructure and funding mechanisms that promote jobs, that’s key.”


In Kentucky, the director of the Kentucky State Buildings & Construction Trades Council, Larry L. Roberts, has been appointed the Secretary of the Labor Cabinet effective May 16th. Roberts replaces acting Labor Secretary Mark Brown who has resigned to pursue other opportunities. In announcing Roberts as the new Secretary, Gov. Steve Beshear thanked Brown for his service.

I thank Secretary Brown for his service to the Labor Cabinet, and my administration,”Gov. Beshear said. “Mark brought a union background and long years of public service experience to this important job. We appreciate his dedication and will miss him; we wish him well.”

Brown was the former Deputy Secretary of Labor before assuming the role of Secretary in December of 2010. He previously served as a Meade County judge-executive and a state representative. He thanked Beshear while giving his support to Roberts.

“I’m proud of the hard work and dedication of Cabinet employees, for their efforts to protect the hard-working people of Kentucky. I have enjoyed my time here in the Labor Cabinet,” said Secretary Brown. “I appreciate Gov. Beshear’s leadership and support of our Cabinet, and wish incoming secretary Roberts the best of luck in his new position.”  

In Roberts, workers in Kentucky have both a seasoned leader and a hard-working man who has dedicated his life to bettering the lives of his fellow union members. He also has previous experience in the labor cabinet having served as Director of the Division of Employment Standards, Apprenticeship and Training. His other positions include(d):

…member of the Governor’s Task Force on Unemployment Insurance and as the labor representative on the Kentucky Prevailing Wage Review Board. He is a member of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 452 and I.U.O.E. Local 181.

“It will be an honor to serve the commonwealth as secretary of the Labor Cabinet, and to work for and protect Kentucky’s workers,” Roberts said. “I thank the governor for this opportunity.”

State Rep. Larry Clark of Louisville praised the appointment of Larry Roberts.

“He’s served in the cabinet before, and he’s done a great job with the the Building and Construction Trades,” Clark said.


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