John "Bam" Carney

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Bam Carney
Majority Leader of the Kentucky House of Representatives
Assumed office
January 1, 2019
Preceded byJonathan Shell
Member of the Kentucky House of Representatives
from the 51st district
Assumed office
January 2009
Preceded byRuss Mobley
Personal details
Born (1969-09-30) September 30, 1969 (age 49)
Campbellsville, Kentucky, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationBerea College (BA)
Eastern Kentucky University (MA)

John Mitchel Owen Carney, known as Bam Carney (born September 30, 1969),[1] is the Republican member of the Kentucky House of Representatives from District 51 (Taylor and Adair counties), Carney succeeded the retiring Republican Representative Russ Mobley, who was first elected in 2000.

Both Carney and Mobley have backgrounds in education, Carney as a basketball coach in area public schools and Mobley at Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, where he supervised theatre arts for more than two decades.[2]

A native of the Yuma/Speck Ridge community, Carney is the son of June Gabehart Carney and the late Don Carney of Elk Horn. His maternal grandparents were the late W.J. "Bug" Gabehart and the former Irene Eastridge of Casey Creek. His paternal grandparents were Stanley, Jr., and Christine Carney of Columbia, the seat of Adair County. Carney attended elementary school at Knifley and then graduated from Taylor County High School in Campbellsville. In 1991, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Berea College in Berea, with an emphasis in political science. He later earned teacher certification from Campbellsville University and a Master of Arts degree in educational instructional leadership from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond.[3]

Carney is married to the former Jenifer Martin (born May 1, 1968), originally from Springfield. The couple has two sons. He is a member of Living Grace Church.[4]

Carney, a former coach, teaches social studies at Taylor County High School in Campbellsville while he simultaneously serves in the part-time state legislature.[4] He was previously a social studies teacher and head basketball coach at Washington County High School in Springfield in Washington County. Previously, he worked for five years for the Campbellsville Municipal Water Department.[4]

In a news release announcing his candidacy, Carney said that he would concentrate his endeavors on public schools, higher education, health care, the infrastructure, and jobs creation. He pledged to build a strong relationship with area state Senators Vernie McGaha, who has since retired, and Dan Kelly. He promised to work to bring several local projects to fruition. Carney said that he would form an advisory team of both Democrats and Republicans from both Adair and Taylor counties.[2]

With Mobley's support, Carney won the Republican nomination in May 2008 over two opponents from Campbellsville. He led the primary with 1,925 votes (41.3 percent). Asa James Swan and Russell Montgomery, a former Democrat, trailed with th 1,636 votes (35.1 percent) and 1,097 primary ballots (23.6 percent), respectively.[5]

Runoffs are not required for party nominations in Kentucky. In the 2008 general election, Carney defeated Billy Joe Fudge (born April 12, 1951) of Columbia, a replacement Democratic opponent, after the unopposed party nominee, Stephen Doug Mullins (born February 4, 1944) of Campbellsville, withdrew because of health considerations. Carney received 16,105 votes (54.4 percent) to Fudge's 12,263 (41.4 percent). A third candidate polled 1,239 votes (4.2 percent).[6]

n the 2017 legislative session, Carney, the chairman of the House Education Committee, obtained passage of his bill to permit charter schools in Kentucky. Republican Governor Matt Bevin is pre-committed to signing the measure into law.[7] Kentucky had been one of only seven states without such institutions but can offer them as early as the fall of 2018. The legislation was opposed by the superintendents in Carney's hometown. While Carney said that he doubts a charter school will be established immediately in Taylor County, he urged that those sections of the state where the demand exists should be allowed this additional educational choice. "Each of our local school districts {Taylor and Adair counties] are performing exceptionally well, and I want to congratulate the work that our local school districts have done," Carney added.[8]


  1. ^ Net Detective, People Search
  2. ^ a b "Carney to run for representative", Central Kentucky News-Journal, January 30, 2008, accessed May 12, 2009
  3. ^ "Kenneth Pierce, "John (Bam) Carney"". Taylor County (KY) Republican Party. Archived from the original on November 20, 2008. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c ""John Mitchel Owen "Bam" Carney (KY)"". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
  5. ^ "Kentucky primary election returns, May 2008". Archived from the original on May 22, 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
  6. ^ "Kentucky general election returns, November 4, 2008". Archived from the original on May 22, 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
  7. ^ Zac Oakes (March 20, 2017). "Carney's charter school bill passes: Governor expected to sign bill into law after it passes House, Senate". Central Kentucky News-Journal. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
  8. ^ Zac Oakes (February 23, 2017). "Carney's bill in favor of charter schools: Local superintendents Cook, Deaton oppose charter schools". Central Kentucky News-Journal. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
Kentucky House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jonathan Shell
Majority Leader of the Kentucky House of Representatives