State public advocate gets another 4-year appointment

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – On the recommendation of the Kentucky Public Advocacy Commission, Gov. Andy Beshear has reappointed Damon Preston to serve another four-year term as Kentucky’s Public Advocate.


In that post, Preston will continue as the leader of the statewide public defender system and the Department of Public Advocacy, or DPA, to which he was first named by then-Gov. Matt Bevin in 2017.


"Kentucky’s public defender program is a highly respected, nationally recognized program that has continued to flourish under Public Advocate Preston,” stated Public Advocacy Commission Chair Cortney Lollar. “During his four years as public advocate, Damon deftly navigated the agency through the uncertain and challenging waters of the COVID-19 pandemic and the beginnings of a racial reckoning following the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and others. He also kept the agency in a fiscally sound position despite the budget challenges facing our state over the past few years."


Preston said, “I’m honored and blessed to be able to serve the administration and DPA clients for another four years. I appreciate Governor Beshear’s strong support of Kentucky public defenders.”


After graduating from Transylvania University and Harvard Law School, Damon began his legal career in the Criminal Appeals Bureau of the Legal Aid Society in New York City.  


He returned to Kentucky in 1997 and has been with DPA ever since. First a staff attorney in the Richmond trial office, Damon led the Paducah and then Cynthiana offices as directing attorney. Starting in 2004, he managed DPA’s appeals branch, then joined DPA’s leadership team as trial division director in 2007.  Early in 2011, he was appointed deputy public advocate and remained in that position until he was appointed public advocate in 2017.  


In addition to work through DPA, Damon serves on the board of the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and is the past chair of the Criminal Law Section of the Kentucky Bar Association. He lives in Georgetown with his wife, Amy, and daughters, Abbie and Marissa.


The DPA is the statewide public defender system charged with providing legal representation to indigent Kentuckians facing the loss of liberty due to criminal allegations.

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