Jody Richards

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Jody Richards
Jody Richards May 2008.JPG
Speaker pro Tempore of the Kentucky House of Representatives
In office
January 6, 2015 – January 5, 2017
Preceded by Larry Clark
Succeeded by David Osborne
Member of the Kentucky House of Representatives
from the 20th district
Assumed office
Personal details
Born (1938-02-20) February 20, 1938 (age 79)
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Neva
Profession educator, business owner
Religion Church of Christ

Jody Richards (born February 20, 1938) is a Democratic member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, representing the 20th District since 1976, former Speaker, and former Speaker Pro Tempore, (as of January 3, 2017)of the Kentucky House of Representative. He still represents District 20.


He graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College with an AB, and earned his MA from the University of Missouri. He served with the US Army Reserve.

Richards, who began his career as a teacher at Western Kentucky University, first ran for office in 1975, when he won the 20th District seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives. While still in his first term, Speaker Richards was called upon to chair the House's Education Committee. He later played an instrumental part in engineering Kentucky's sweeping education reforms by chairing one of the committees that helped draft the Kentucky Education Reform Act, and he has shown the same commitment in leadership roles in the Southern Legislative Conference's Education Committee and the Legislative Advisory Council of the Southern Regional Education Board.

In 1987, Richards was chosen by his Democratic colleagues in the House to serve as their Majority Caucus Chairman, one of the body's five leadership positions. In 1995, Richards reached the culmination of his nearly two decades of legislative service and leadership by being chosen Speaker of the House. On January 6, 2009, Richards, the longest-serving speaker in Kentucky's history, was defeated by Greg Stumbo for the position of Speaker of the House.[1]

Richards is the owner of Superior Books, Inc., a wholesale book sales and distribution company in Bowling Green, and is a long-time member of Greenwood Park Church of Christ. He has a son, Roger, a daughter-in-law, Ellen, and a granddaughter, Holly Beth. Richards and his wife, Neva, live in Bowling Green. In 2012, his namesake school, Jody Richards Elementary was built in Bowling Green Kentucky.

Richards for a second time sought the Democratic nomination for Governor of Kentucky in the 2007 election, with John Y. Brown, III, former Kentucky Secretary of State and son of former governor and KFC magnate John Y. Brown, Jr., as his running mate. Richards finished a distant fourth in the primary with just over 45,000 votes (13%), far behind the 142,000 votes (41%) garnered by nominee Steve Beshear.[2] In 2003 Richards ran for Governor of Kentucky on a slate with Tony Miller (Kentucky), losing in the Democratic primary to Ben Chandler and Charlie Owen.


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Joe Clarke
Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Greg Stumbo