announcing the award, LRC co-chairs
L. Williams, President of the Senate, and Greg Stumbo, Speaker
of the House, said Hyland’s selection was especially
well-deserved, given her long service on behalf of millions of
Kentuckians who’d never heard her name.
her 26 years here, Peggy was an unsung hero who embodied the
best in legislative staffing,’ Williams said. ‘She
developed with everyone a well-earned reputation for
professionalism, even-handed nonpartisanship, fairness and
good humor. And she devoted her whole career to serving the
people without seeking or expecting public credit or applause.
This public recognition is long-overdue.’
joining the LRC staff in 1976, Hyland rose from committee
to assistant director, deputy director and acting
interim director. Her focus was seeing that the
Legislature’s all-important committee system was staffed and
she was in some ways most noted for her advocacy of a concept
considered innovative at the time: The use of agency staff and
resources to identify emerging issues and trends, and to brief
lawmakers in advance on problems -- and solutions -- before a
cloud on the horizon became a full-blown storm.
virtually invented the concept of long-term issues
legislatures,’ Stumbo said. ‘She saw clearly that too
often, a legislature is simply a reactive body, careening from
problem to problem and crisis to crisis. Her ideas were
visionary. She advocated them tirelessly, with Vic Hellard's
enthusiastic support. And she taught them to others
on the LRC committee staff and got them involved.
She was a champion of legislative independence, and saw that a
strong Legislature is built on a solid base of knowledge.’
retired from the agency in 2002.
herself expressed ‘surprise and deep gratitude’ upon
learning of the award.
the award bears the name of my great friend and mentor Vic
Hellard Jr. only deepens my sense of being humbled and truly
honored,' she said.' But most especially, I don't consider
this just a personal recognition. I share it with the hundreds
of legislative staffers who have worked long hours in virtual
anonymity, far from any limelight, to serve the people of
Kentucky and the branch of government closest to them, what
Vic always called The People's Branch. Their names should be
on this award along with mine.'
LRC Director Robert Sherman, a close colleague of Hyland’s
for 23 years, said throughout her career, she embodied the
traits that Hellard most admired in public servants.
taught Peggy from early in her career here, and came to rely
on her for her steadiness and solid counsel,’
said. ’He always had absolute faith in Peggy as an exemplary
legislative staffer. I’m sure he’d be pleased that a
member of his legislative family was chosen the first year the
award is being given by the LRC itself. And I know he’d be
especially pleased it was Peggy.’