Kenneth A. Schmied

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Kenneth Allen Schmied (July 11, 1911 – April 5, 1973), a Republican, served as Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky.

Schmied was the son of a Swiss immigrant who sold coffee door to door and later owned a furniture store. Kenneth A. Schmied and a brother entered the family furniture business.

Schmied was not politically active until 1960 when a local party leader asked him to help organize a rally for Republican presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon. The local party was impressed with his ability and recruited him to run for the Board of Aldermen in Louisville's Third Ward. Schmied directed the local Republican effort that fall and the Republicans swept the local elections. Republican William O. Cowger was elected Mayor of Louisville and Schmied won the aldermanic seat and was elected President of the Board of Aldermen.

Cowger chose Schmied as his successor as mayor. Schmied ran for the office in 1965. He defeated a former sheriff in the Republican primary and won the general election against Democrat Marlin Volz. Republicans retained control of the Board of Aldermen. Schmied served as mayor from 1965 to 1969.

As mayor, Schmied won approval of a bond issue for local projects including an expansion of the public library system and sites for Jefferson Community and Technical College and the medical and dental schools at the University of Louisville. Schmied also promoted development of the riverfront.

The civil rights movement coincided with Schmied's term as mayor. Housing discrimination was a hot topic. Schmied claimed to favor fair housing but he opposed a local ordinance to that effect. The Republican majority on the Board of Aldermen blocked the passage of any fair housing legislation. The Democrats ran on that issue in 1967 and took control of the Board of Aldermen. The Democrats that then controlled the Board of Aldermen passed a fair housing measure; Schmied neither signed it nor vetoed it. Schmied and the Board of Aldermen spent the second half of his term in conflict, and the Democratic aldermen passed several measures over Schmied's veto.

1968 saw rioting in Louisville's West End, as happened in many American cities in that year following the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.. The black areas of the city claimed that Schmied was unaware and uninterested in the many problems there.

The 1969 elections saw Democrat Frank W. Burke win the mayor's office.

Schmied died in 1973 and is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville.

Political offices


Preceded by
William O. Cowger
Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky
1965–1969
Succeeded by
Frank W. Burke