Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky

The office of Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky was created under the state's second constitution, which was ratified in 1799. The inaugural officeholder was Alexander Scott Bullitt, who took office in 1800 following his election to serve under James Garrard in 1799. The lieutenant governor serves as governor of Kentucky under circumstances similar to the Vice President of the United States assuming the powers of the presidency. The current Lieutenant Governor is Democrat Jacqueline Coleman, who has been office since December 10, 2019.

Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky
Jacqueline Coleman

since December 10, 2019
StyleThe Honorable
Term lengthFour years, renewable once
Inaugural holderAlexander Scott Bullitt (1800)
FormationKentucky Constitution
Salary$124,113.60 [1]

Duties of the Kentucky Lt. Governor

as specified in Kentucky Revised Statute 11.400

11.400 Duties of Lieutenant Governor.[2] (1) In addition to the duties prescribed for the office by the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the duties of the Lieutenant Governor shall be as follows: (a) To serve as vice chairman of the State Property and Buildings Commission as prescribed by KRS 56.450; (b) To serve as vice chairman of the Kentucky Turnpike Authority as prescribed in KRS 175.430; (c) To serve as a member of the Kentucky Council on Agriculture in accordance with KRS 247.417; (d) To appoint one (1) member of the Public Officials' Compensation Commission as provided in KRS 64.742; (e) To serve as a member of the Board of the Kentucky Housing Corporation in accordance with KRS 198A.030; and (f) To serve as a member of Kentucky delegations on the following interstate compact commissions or boards: 1. The Southern Growth Policies Board as prescribed by KRS 147.585; 2. The Breaks Interstate Park Commission as provided in KRS 148.225; 3. The Falls of the Ohio Interstate Park Commission pursuant to KRS 148.242; 4. The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority pursuant to KRS 182.305; 5. The Interstate Water Sanitation Control Commissions as prescribed by KRS 224.18-710; and 6. The Kentucky Mining Advisory Council for the Interstate Mining Compact as provided by KRS 350.310. (2) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the Governor and Lieutenant Governor from agreeing upon additional duties within the executive branch of the state government to be performed by the Lieutenant Governor. Effective: June 26, 2007

Changes by 1992 amendment

The role and powers of the Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky were altered by a 1992 amendment to the Constitution of Kentucky. Prior to that 1992 amendment to the Constitution of Kentucky the lieutenant governor became acting governor at any time that the governor was outside of the commonwealth. Lieutenant governors Thelma Stovall (1975–1979) and Happy Chandler (1931–1935) engaged in high-profile use of their powers as acting governor when the elected governor was out of the commonwealth.

Also prior to the 1992 amendment of the Constitution of Kentucky, the lieutenant governor of Kentucky presided over the Kentucky Senate, casting a vote only in the event of a tie. The 1992 constitutional amendment supplanted the office of President pro tempore of the Kentucky Senate with the new office of President of the Kentucky Senate as presiding officer and abolished the lieutenant governor's duties involving the Senate. As a result, the lieutenant governor has no ongoing constitutional duties, and his or her traditional use of the Old Governor's Mansion as an official residence has been phased out.

Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor in Kentucky run together on party slates. This is the result of the same 1992 constitutional amendment; prior to that the candidates for both offices ran separately and, as a result, sometimes the two elected to those offices were not allies and did not work together. This was famously highlighted when then-Lt. Gov. A. B. "Happy" Chandler in 1935 and then-Lt. Gov. Thelma Stovall in 1978 called the Kentucky General Assembly into session to enact legislation that was not advocated by the governors at the time (Ruby Laffoon and Julian Carroll, respectively). In 1967 a Republican, Louie Nunn, was elected governor and a Democrat, Wendell H. Ford, was elected lieutenant governor; they served together in that way for four years.

List of lieutenant governors

  Democratic (29)   Democratic-Republican (5)   National Republican (1)   Free Soil (0)   Republican (7)   Whig (5)

# Name Political Party Term Governor(s) served under
1 Alexander Scott Bullitt 1800–1804 James Garrard
2 John Caldwell 1804 Christopher Greenup
3 Thomas Posey Democratic-Republican 1806–1808 Christopher Greenup
4 Gabriel Slaughter Democratic-Republican 1808–1812 Charles Scott
5 Richard Hickman 1812–1816 Isaac Shelby
6 Gabriel Slaughter Democratic-Republican 1816 George Madison
Vacant 1816–1820 Gabriel Slaughter
7 William T. Barry Democratic-Republican 1820–1824 John Adair
8 Robert B. McAfee Democratic-Republican 1824–1828 Joseph Desha
9 John Breathitt Democratic 1828–1832 Thomas Metcalfe
10 James T. Morehead National Republican, Whig 1832–1834 John Breathitt
Vacant 1834–1836 James T. Morehead
11 Charles A. Wickliffe Whig 1836–1839 James Clark
12 Manlius Valerius Thomson 1840–1844 Robert P. Letcher
13 Archibald Dixon Whig 1844–1848 William Owsley
14 John LaRue Helm Whig 1848–1850 John J. Crittenden
Vacant 1850–1851 John L. Helm
15 John Burton Thompson Whig, Know Nothing 1851–1853 Lazarus W. Powell
16 James Greene Hardy Know Nothing 1855–1856 Charles S. Morehead
Vacant 1856–1859
17 Linn Boyd Democratic 1859 Beriah Magoffin
18 Richard Taylor Jacob Democratic 1863–1864 Thomas E. Bramlette
Vacant 1864–1867 Thomas E. Bramlette
19 John W. Stevenson Democratic 1867 John L. Helm
Vacant 1867–1871
20 John G. Carlisle Democratic 1871–1875 Preston H. Leslie
21 John C. Underwood 1875–1879 James B. McCreary
22 James E. Cantrill 1879–1883 Luke P. Blackburn
23 James R. Hindman Democratic 1883–1887 J. Proctor Knott
24 James W. Bryan Democratic 1887–1891 Simon Bolivar Buckner
25 Mitchell C. Alford Democratic 1891–1895 John Young Brown
26 William J. Worthington Republican 1895–1899 William O. Bradley
27 John Marshall Republican 1899–1900 William S. Taylor
28 J. C. W. Beckham Democratic 1900 William Goebel
Vacant 1900–1903 J. C. W. Beckham
29 William P. Thorne 1903–1907 J. C. W. Beckham
30 William H. Cox Republican 1907–1911 Augustus E. Willson
31 Edward J. McDermott Democratic 1911–1915 James B. McCreary
32 James D. Black Democratic 1915–1919 Augustus O. Stanley
33 S. Thruston Ballard Republican 1919–1923 James D. Black
Edwin P. Morrow
34 Henry Denhardt 1923–1927 William J. Fields
35 James Breathitt, Jr. Democratic 1927–1931 Flem D. Sampson
36 Happy Chandler Democratic 1931–1935 Ruby Laffoon
37 Keen Johnson Democratic 1935–1939 Happy Chandler
38 Rodes K. Myers 1939–1943 Keen Johnson
39 Kenneth H. Tuggle Republican 1943–1947 Simeon Willis
40 Lawrence W. Wetherby Democratic 1947–1950 Earle Clements
41 Emerson "Doc" Beauchamp Democratic 1951–1955 Lawrence W. Wetherby
42 Harry Lee Waterfield Democratic 1955–1959 Happy Chandler
43 Wilson W. Wyatt Democratic 1959–1963 Bert Combs
44 Harry Lee Waterfield Democratic 1963–1967 Ned Breathitt
45 Wendell H. Ford Democratic 1967–1971 Louie Nunn
46 Julian M. Carroll Democratic 1971–1974 Wendell Ford
Vacant 1974–1975
47 Thelma Stovall Democratic 1975–1979 Julian Carroll
48 Martha Layne Collins Democratic 1979–1983 John Y. Brown Jr.
49 Steve Beshear Democratic 1983–1987 Martha Layne Collins
50 Brereton C. Jones Democratic 1987–1991 Wallace Wilkinson
51 Paul E. Patton Democratic 1991–1995 Brereton C. Jones
52 Steve Henry Democratic 1995–2003 Paul E. Patton
53 Steve Pence Republican 2003–2007 Ernie Fletcher
54 Daniel Mongiardo Democratic 2007–2011 Steve Beshear
55 Jerry Abramson Democratic 2011–2014 Steve Beshear
56 Crit Luallen Democratic 2014–2015 Steve Beshear
57 Jenean Hampton Republican 2015–2019 Matt Bevin
58 Jacqueline Coleman Democratic 2019–present Andy Beshear

Some accounts also indicate that Kentucky's Confederate government had one lieutenant governor, Horatio F. Simrall, who was elected at the Russellville Convention in 1861. Simrall fled to Mississippi shortly thereafter.[3]

Living former lieutenant governors of Kentucky

As of December 2019, eleven former lieutenant governors were alive, the oldest being Julian Carroll (served 1971–1974, born 1931). The most recent death of a former lieutenant governor was that of Wendell H. Ford (served 1967–1971, born 1924), on January 22, 2015. The most recently serving lieutenant governor to die was Thelma Stovall (1975–1979) on February 4, 1994.

Lt. GovernorLt. Gubernatorial termDate of birth (and age)
Julian M. Carroll 1971–1974 (1931-04-16) April 16, 1931
Martha Layne Collins 1979–1983 (1936-12-07) December 7, 1936
Steve Beshear 1983–1987 (1944-09-21) September 21, 1944
Brereton C. Jones 1987–1991 (1939-06-27) June 27, 1939
Paul E. Patton 1991–1995 (1937-05-26) May 26, 1937
Steve Henry 1995–2003 (1953-10-08) October 8, 1953
Steve Pence 2003–2007 (1953-12-22) December 22, 1953
Daniel Mongiardo 2007–2011 (1960-07-04) July 4, 1960
Jerry Abramson 2011–2014 (1946-09-12) September 12, 1946
Crit Luallen 2014–2015 (1952-07-21) July 21, 1952
Jenean Hampton 2015–2019 (1958-05-12) May 12, 1958

See also


  1. " - Salary Search". August 4, 2018. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
  2. Kentucky Revised Statute 11.400
  3. Powell, Robert A. (1976). Kentucky Governors. Frankfort, Kentucky: Kentucky Images. ASIN B0006CPOVM. OCLC 2690774.
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