Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky

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The office of lieutenant governor of Kentucky has existed under the last three of Kentucky's four constitutions, beginning in 1797. 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 Crit Luallen. As of the November 2015 elections, the lieutenant Governor-elect is Jenean Hampton Republican.

Duties of the Kentucky Lt. Governor[edit]

as specified in Kentucky Revised Statute 11.400

11.400 Duties of Lieutenant Governor.[1] (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[edit]

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.

Kentucky's first governor's mansion served as the lieutenant governor's official residence for many years.

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[edit]

      Democratic       Democratic-Republican       National Republican       Free Soil       Republican       Whig

# Name Political Party Term
1 Alexander Scott Bullitt 1800-1804
2 John Caldwell 1804
3 Thomas Posey Democratic-Republican 1806-1808
4 Gabriel Slaughter Democratic-Republican 1808-1812
5 Richard Hickman 1812-1816
6 Gabriel Slaughter Democratic-Republican 1816
Vacant 1816–1820
7 William T. Barry Democratic-Republican 1820-1824
8 Robert B. McAfee Democratic-Republican 1824-1828
9 John Breathitt Democratic 1828-1832
10 James T. Morehead National Republican, Whig 1832-1834
Vacant 1834–1836
11 Charles A. Wickliffe Whig 1836-1839
12 Manlius Valerius Thomson 1840-1844
13 Archibald Dixon Whig 1844-1848
14 John LaRue Helm Whig 1848-1850
Vacant 1850–1851
15 John Burton Thompson Whig, Know Nothing 1851-1853
16 James Greene Hardy Know Nothing 1855-1856
Vacant 1856–1859
17 Linn Boyd Democratic 1859
18 Richard Taylor Jacob Democratic 1863-1864
Vacant 1864–1867
19 John W. Stevenson Democratic 1867
Vacant 1867–1871
20 John G. Carlisle Democratic 1871-1875
21 John C. Underwood 1875-1879
22 James E. Cantrill 1879-1883
23 James R. Hindman Democratic 1883-1887
24 James W. Bryan Democratic 1887-1891
25 Mitchell C. Alford Democratic 1891-1895
26 William J. Worthington 1895-1899
27 John Marshall Republican 1899-1900
28 J. C. W. Beckham Democratic 1900
Vacant 1900–1903
29 William P. Thorne 1903-1907
30 William H. Cox Republican 1907-1911
31 Edward J. McDermott Democratic 1911-1915
32 James D. Black Democratic 1915-1919
33 S. Thruston Ballard 1919-1923
34 Henry Denhardt 1923-1927
35 James Breathitt, Jr. 1927-1931
36 Happy Chandler Democratic 1931-1935
37 Keen Johnson Democratic 1935-1939
38 Rodes K. Myers 1939-1943
39 Kenneth H. Tuggle Republican 1943-1947
40 Lawrence Wetherby Democratic 1947-1950
41 Emerson "Doc" Beauchamp 1951-1955
42 Harry Lee Waterfield Democratic 1955-1959
43 Wilson W. Wyatt Democratic 1959-1963
44 Harry Lee Waterfield Democratic 1963-1967
45 Wendell H. Ford Democratic 1967-1971
46 Julian M. Carroll Democratic 1971-1974
Vacant 1974–1975
47 Thelma Stovall Democratic 1975-1979
48 Martha Layne Collins Democratic 1979-1983
49 Steve Beshear Democraic 1983-1987
50 Brereton C. Jones Democratic 1987-1991
51 Paul E. Patton Democratic 1991-1995
52 Steve Henry Democratic 1995-2003
53 Steve Pence Republican 2003-2007
54 Daniel Mongiardo Democratic 2007-2011
55 Jerry Abramson Democratic 2011-2014
56 Crit Luallen Democratic 2014-present
57 Jenean Hampton Republican 2015

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.[2]

Living former lieutenant governors[edit]

As of January 2015, nine former lieutenant governors were alive, the oldest being Julian Carroll (1971–1974, born 1931). The most recent death of a former lieutenant governor was that of Wendell H. Ford (1967–1971), on January 22, 2015.

Lt. Governor Lt. Gubernatorial term Date of birth (and age)
Julian M. Carroll 1971–1974 (1931-04-16) April 16, 1931 (age 84)
Martha Layne Collins 1979–1983 (1936-12-07) December 7, 1936 (age 78)
Steve Beshear 1983–1987 (1944-09-21) September 21, 1944 (age 71)
Brereton C. Jones 1987–1991 (1939-06-27) June 27, 1939 (age 76)
Paul E. Patton 1991–1995 (1937-05-26) May 26, 1937 (age 78)
Steve Henry 1995–2003 (1953-10-08) October 8, 1953 (age 62)
Steve Pence 2003–2007 (1953-12-22) December 22, 1953 (age 61)
Daniel Mongiardo 2007–2011 (1960-07-04) July 4, 1960 (age 55)
Jerry Abramson 2011–2014 (1946-09-12) September 12, 1946 (age 69)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kentucky Revised Statute 11.400
  2. ^ Powell, Robert A. (1976). Kentucky Governors. Frankfort, Kentucky: Kentucky Images. ASIN B0006CPOVM. OCLC 2690774.