Joe Meyer is a 4th generation Covingtonian. He was born on Covington Avenue to Gene, a Covington Firefighter, electrician and electrical inspector, and Dolores, a homemaker who taught sewing at Holy Cross High School after her children were grown. Joe was raised in Latonia and attended Covington Latin. His five brothers and sisters all attended Holy Cross High School.
Joe has a passion for public service, and is a lifelong advocate for the City of Covington. He served in the legislative and executive branches of the government for more than 30 years.
Joe received his law degree from Northern Kentucky University, a master’s degree in urban affairs from St. Louis University and a bachelor’s degree from Bellarmine College. He has also completed the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He has been married to his wife, Dale, since 1974. They have four grown children who also reside in Covington.
In 1982, Joe began the first phase of his life as a public servant representing Kentucky’s 65th House District as a state representative until 1988. As a state representative he chaired the House Cities Committee.
In 1989 Joe was elected to the state senate where he represented Kentucky’s 23rd Senate District until 1996. As a state senator Joe served as chair of the Senate State and Local Government Committee and as chair of the Senate Education Committee during the historic implementation of the Kentucky Education Reform Act.
After leaving the Senate, Joe served as a senior policy advisor to Governor Steve Beshear and State Auditor Crit Luallen. Joe also served as chief of staff for the chair of the House majority caucus and as general counsel and deputy director for the Kentucky Association of Counties.
In 2009 Joe was appointed Secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, where he worked to reform Kentucky’s unemployment insurance system to restore financial stability, overhauled the Kentucky system of secondary career and technical education, and oversaw the creation of the governor’s office for early childhood. He was the founding chair of the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics.
As Secretary, Joe served as co-chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Early Childhood Development and Education and a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Transforming Education in Kentucky. Joe also served as state coordinator in Kentucky for the Southern Regional Education Board’s (SREB) State College and Career Readiness Initiative where he worked with leaders from seven other states to define key steps each state can take to improve students’ readiness. Under Joe’s leadership, the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet received national recognition for workforce investment improvements in Kentucky.
Joe has been instrumental in much of Covington’s progress, and has been has been a strong advocate for the city during his public life.
He played a key role in bringing in bringing Covington’s largest employer to the city as principal sponsor of a bill to change tax code laws that enabled Fidelity Investments to relocate in Covington.
Joe helped establish the Mainstrasse Village Association where he served two terms as president in the early 80s. He was a key leader in the processes that brought the Northern Kentucky Convention Center to Covington. His vision and persistence resulted in the new 12th Street—now Martin Luther King Jr—corridor and the Latonia Avenue-43rd Street underpass. Joe also served as a member of the Covington Board of Education and chaired the board of Covington Latin helping to develop its strategic plan to invest in a $10 million expansion in the city.
As one of Covington’s “urban pioneers” Joe was involved in the rehabilitation of the Old Seminary Square Neighborhood in Covington in the 1970s. Joe’s investments in Old Seminary Square helped foster the transformation of a blighted area of Covington into one of the city’s most historic, vibrant, and desirable neighborhoods.
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