- Associated Press - Sunday, January 24, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A day after declaring a state of emergency due to a winter storm that dumped more than a foot of snow in parts of his state, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin traveled to New Hampshire to speak at a Republican forum.

Bevin was guest speaker at a Saturday luncheon during the New Hampshire GOP’s “First in the Nation Presidential Town Hall,” according to media reports. Bevin, who took office as governor last month, grew up in the Granite State.

His administration defended his decision to leave Kentucky while it was under a state of emergency.

“Gov. Bevin has been directly involved in the management of this snow storm,” said Jessica Ditto, Bevin’s spokeswoman, in a text message.

Bevin decided Saturday morning that the weather situation was well-in-hand and that he would honor his commitment to speak in New Hampshire. She said the governor also was meeting with companies interested in moving jobs to Kentucky.

Earlier Saturday, Bevin posted pictures of himself on Twitter in front of a salt truck and alongside state highway workers.

Many parts of Kentucky got more than a foot of snow, stranding thousands of motorists overnight on Interstate 75 and leaving thousands without power.

Emergency Management Director Mike Dossett, who was appointed to his post by then-Gov. Steve Beshear, said he had spoken on the phone with Bevin twice Friday night and twice Saturday morning and was texting with him until after 1 a.m. Saturday.

“He was hands-on but did not micro-manage,” said Dossett, who also worked in the administration of Gov. Ernie Fletcher. Dossett said he has never worked as closely with a governor before.

By the time Bevin left the state, Dossett said the snow storm had long passed.

Ditto said Bevin flew on a state-owned aircraft to New Hampshire, but said the state would be reimbursed for the political portion of the trip.

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