A 2000 Central Hardin High School graduate has been named the new leader of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce today.

The chamber’s board of directors unanimously selected Ashli Watts as its next president and chief executive officer. She currently is the chamber’s senior vice president of public affairs and will assume her new role Nov. 1.

The announcement was made at midday to state chamber staff and Dave Adkisson, the outgoing president and CEO, interrupted a state meeting of executives from 50 local chambers of commerce to share news of the promotion.

“I’ve observed her for seven years and she has a very strong work ethic,” said Adkisson, who has served as the state chamber’s president and CEO for 15 years. “She’s earned the respect of legislators and business leaders across the state and I think she represents the next generation of the Kentucky Chamber.”

After high school, she earned a degree in 2004 from Campbellsville University where she served as student body president. She also has a masters degree in public policy and administration from the University of Louisville.

Before joining the chamber staff, she worked for the Legislative Research Commission and later the Kentucky Bar Association. She said her 16-year career has focused on public policy.

Watts and her husband, Ryan, live in Frankfort and have two children, Emma and Carter.

A more detailed story will appear in Friday’s print edition of The News-Enterprise.

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