Kerry Harvey, Secretary
On August 3, 2021, Gov. Andy Beshear appointed Kerry Harvey as Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, the second largest cabinet in state government with more than 7,000 employees. In his role, Secretary Harvey will provide security and safety to both the public and those within state custody by overseeing five different departments, including the Kentucky State Police, Department of Corrections, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Criminal Justice Training and Department of Public Advocacy. The Office of the State Medical Examiner and the Office of Drug Control Policy are also under the Secretary's authority and responsibility. Additionally, Secretary Harvey will provide a fair and impartial administration of taxpayer resources by being fiscally responsible for a $1.3 billion budget while distributing over $120 million in grant funding to provide crucial resources to help create a better Kentucky through exceptional public safety initiatives.
Immediately prior to joining the Cabinet, Secretary Harvey served the Beshear administration as Secretary of the Public Protection Cabinet where he was tasked with protecting the public by regulating the industries of alcohol, banking, charitable gaming, combat sports, construction, horse racing, insurance, & professional licensing.
Secretary Harvey served as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky from 2010 into 2017. He served as the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Chief Federal Law Enforcement Officer in Kentucky's 67 easternmost counties and was responsible for achieving landmark criminal convictions and civil recoveries for fraudulent healthcare practices, prosecuting significant public corruption cases and prosecuting large-scale drug trafficking organizations.
Secretary Harvey's national responsibilities and significant efforts at DOJ included serving on the National Heroin Task Force; serving three years on the Attorney General's Advisory Committee (AGAC), select appointees by the Attorney General as advisors to the Attorney General and as the voice for United States Attorneys nationwide; serving as Co-Chairman of the AGAC's Healthcare Fraud Working Group; and establishing the highly successful U.S. Attorney's Heroin Education Action Team, an initiative to increase public awareness of the opioid epidemic.
Prior to his arrival at the U.S. Attorney's Office, Secretary Harvey served as General Counsel for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS). At CHFS, he led a team of 35 lawyers with responsibilities that included health care fraud and Medicaid reimbursement litigation, certificate of need issues, and public health. Secretary Harvey also served as the Acting Inspector General for CHFS where he led efforts to prevent and detect fraud in various programs administered by CHFS.
Secretary Harvey is a member of the Kentucky Bar Association. He received his B.S. from Murray State University and his J.D. from the University of Kentucky College of Law.
Keith Jackson, Deputy Secretary
On August 4, 2021, Gov. Andy Beshear appointed Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Keith L. Jackson as the Deputy Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. In this role, he will work to ensure the safety and security of Kentucky communities through an approach centered on protecting citizens, restoring victims and reforming wrongdoers – all in a focused environment where everything is measured for accountability and performance.
Immediately prior to joining the cabinet, Deputy Secretary Jackson served as the commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs where he was the Governor's representative and advisor on all veterans-related matters, and was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Department's Benefits Branch, four Veteran Nursing Homes, five State Veteran Cemeteries, Employment Services Program, Homeless Veterans Program, and Women Veterans Program.
During his 27-year career in the U.S. Army Reserves, Deputy Secretary Jackson served in numerous capacities ranging from platoon leader up to Battalion Command. He is a graduate of the Armor Officer Basic and Advanced Courses at Ft Knox, KY; Command and General Staff College, Ft Leavenworth, KS; and the Multifunctional Logistics Course at Ft Lee, VA. He served in Iraq in 2006 as the Operations Officer of the 352nd Combat Service Battalion, which conducted combat logistic patrols. His awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Combat Action Badge. In 2008, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and selected as Battalion Commander of the 373rd Quartermaster Battalion.
In addition to his military service, Deputy Secretary Jackson began his municipal and public service career in January 1991 with the Lexington Fire Department. His first assignment was as a Firefighter with Engine Company 9. In 1993, he was certified as an Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic and assigned to Emergency Care 6. Deputy Secretary Jackson was promoted to Lieutenant in 2000, Captain in 2002, and Major in 2010 when he became the Hazardous Material Team leader for the Department. In 2011, he was appointed Assistant Chief of Administration, and then Interim Chief that same year. In June 2012, Chief Jackson made history by becoming the first African American appointed Chief of the Lexington Division of Fire and Emergency Services. In this capacity, he managed a 56 million dollar budget, 540 Firefighters and 23 stations.
Deputy Secretary Jackson earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communications and received his commission from the University of Kentucky in 1987. He is the father of two daughters, Taylor L. Jackson, a graduate of Transylvania University, and Karrington I. Jackson, a student athlete at Transylvania.
Mona Womack, Chief of Staff
Mona Womack was appointed as Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet in August of 2021. As Chief of Staff, she provides direction and guidance to Secretary Kerry Harvey and Deputy Secretary Keith Jackson, while ensuring the Cabinet is working as efficiently and effectively as possible and helping to move the Governor's priorities forward to create a better Kentucky.
Prior to joining the Cabinet, Mona served as an Executive Advisor to the Public Protection Cabinet. In this role, she worked for Secretary Harvey, the former Cabinet Secretary for the Public Protection Cabinet, where she led the PPC Diversity & Inclusion initiative and served as Acting Commissioner of Housing, Buildings & Construction and Acting Executive Director of the Office of Claims & Appeals.
Before joining the Public Protection Cabinet, Mona served as an attorney for the Cabinet for Health & Family Services for 26 years with a focus on child protection legal issues.
She is a graduate of Morehead State University and Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University.
Michele Barnes, Human Resources Director
Michele Barnes was appointed as the Human Resources Director of the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet in November of 2017. Her career with state government spans 27 years with over 23 years in the field of Human Resources.
She began her career in human resources at the Department of Corrections, Frankfort Career and Development Center. Her path then lead her to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services as the Human Resources Branch Manager and later on to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet as the Assistant Director for the Division of Human Resource Management.
Michele is in her 3rd term as the Chair of the Personnel Council. She previously served for 3 years on the board of International Personnel Management Association-Human Resources (IPMA-HR) Kentucky Chapter as the Chapter Secretary and Assistant Treasurer. In addition, she serves as an official mentor to other HR professionals through IPMA-HR.
Michele has two associate degrees, one in Business Management and Marketing with an emphasis in Human Resources and a second in Business Administration. She is a resident of Scott County.
Natalie Burikhanov, Legislative Director
Natalie Burikhanov is the Legislative Director for the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. As a Frankfort native, Natalie grew up in government and public service, and she believes in the power of innovative, cross-sector solutions to pressing social policy issues.
Prior to her work with the Cabinet, Natalie worked with the Judiciary Committee at the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission and as a Policy Analyst for The Council of State Governments. Natalie has held multiple roles with the Cabinet, including Grant Administrator, Director of the Kentucky Victim Assistance Academy, and, most recently, Policy Advisor to the Secretary. She has also worked with the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, Catholic Charities of Louisville's Human Trafficking Program, the University of Kentucky's Center for English as a Second Language, and the U.S. House of Representatives.
Natalie's professional portfolio has included issues pertaining to criminal justice, victims of crime, the future of work, language access, human trafficking, cannabis policy, mental health and suicide prevention, sexual violence, smart government, and preventive health policy. Her academic background is in diplomacy, international development, comparative foreign policy, and human rights issues, and her thesis focused on the adverse impacts of forced migration on girls and sexual violence in conflict.
Natalie received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations with a minor in Arabic & Islamic Studies from the University of Kentucky and an M.A. in Diplomacy from the University of Kentucky's Patterson School of Diplomacy & International Commerce.
Morgan Hall, Communications Director
Morgan Hall is the Communications Director for the Kentucky Justice & Public Safety Cabinet.
Morgan brings 10 years of professional experience in communications and marketing to the Cabinet having previously worked in the legal and health care fields at the McBrayer Law Firm and Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center - Lexington. In these roles she served as director over internal and external communications, videography, graphic arts, marketing strategies, media relations, event management, social media, branding, website design and management, advertisements and publication production, client engagement and employee relations.
Morgan believes in the power of transparent and honest communication. She works closely with the Cabinet's leadership, agencies, and departments, in addition to the Governor's Communications Office, to ensure one united message is delivered to Kentuckians regarding matters pertaining to justice and public safety. As the Cabinet's Communications Director, she is tasked with exploring innovative strategies and opportunities to build proactive communications. Morgan is committed to collaborating with the media in order to provide timely notifications and keep the public informed as programs and services are implemented which have a direct impact on public safety and the citizens of the Commonwealth.
Morgan received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Kentucky where she graduated magna cum laude. She currently resides in Lexington with her husband and two children.
Rebecca Norton, Budget Director
Rebecca Norton was appointed the Budget Director of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet in January of 2022.
Rebecca brings almost a decade of experience in state government budgeting and accounting to the Cabinet. Through personal experience working in agency level programs within the commonwealth, Rebecca understands the importance of empowering those working in agency level financial roles with resources, support, and guidance; and believes that transparency and sharing of knowledge is the best way to foster an environment of fiscal discipline and fair distribution of taxpayer resources. Her role is to provide budgetary guidance to Cabinet leadership, and develop innovative and strategic resource allocations for Cabinet programs that reduce crime and protect public safety.
Rebecca has held previous roles in accounting, procurement, budgeting, and grants management. Prior to her role at Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, Rebecca worked as the Budget Manager for the Department of Military Affairs, managing over $250 million in federal funds, which supported disaster recovery and emergency management throughout the state, as well as the operations of the Kentucky National Guard. Rebecca also responded to all state of emergency declarations and activations of the commonwealth's Emergency Operations Center, and understands the selflessness and dedication of Kentucky's first responders to ensure the safety of all Kentuckians. During her time at Military Affairs, her team won the 2016 Governor's Ambassador Team Award for streamlining the process by which local entities received grant funds, and provided in depth guidance and education to local officials to ensure compliance with uniform guidance requirements. She is passionate about continued grants education and development of strong financial internal controls, to ensure that all federal and state funds available can be maximized and invested in evidence-based programs that further the mission of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and benefit Kentucky citizens.
As a military spouse, Rebecca understands the personal sacrifices made by those who choose careers in public safety, and is dedicated to ensuring their safety and wellbeing through data-driven allocation of resources and support programs. She resides with her family in Franklin County, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Education – Political Science from the University of Kentucky and holds a certificate in Grants Management.