Hall of GovernorsToyota Kentucky Hall of Governors
The Toyota Kentucky Hall of Governors in the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History displays over fifty portraits of former chief executives of the commonwealth in this permanent gallery. The Kentucky Historical Society adds each governor’s official portrait to its collection at the end of his/her term.
Click here to check out our Interactive PresentationISAAC SHELBY (1792-96, 1812-16)
of Lincoln County.
Shelby was born in Maryland. He was a surveyor and soldier, serving in the Revolutionary War and in various Indian campaigns. He was a hero of the Battle of King's Mountain. As governor, Shelby commanded troops at the Battle of the Thames (1813) in the War of 1812. He was elected governor without opposition. Shelby County was named for him, as were counties in eight other states.
Painted by Matthew H. Jouett
JAMES GARRARD (1796-1804)
of Bourbon County.
Garrard was born in Virginia and was a Revolutionary War soldier. He was the first Kentucky governor to serve two full successive terms and to live in the Governors' Mansion (present Lieutenant Governors' Mansion). Garrard County was named for him.
Painted by Chester Harding, 1818
CHRISTOPHER GREENUP (1804-08)
of Mercer and Fayette Counties.Greenup was born in Virginia and was a Revolutionary War soldier. He was a state legislator, clerk of the state senate, and one of the states first two members of the U.S. House (1792-97). Greenup was elected governor in 1804 without opposition. Greenup County was named for him.
Painted by William T. Hundleigh, 1907
CHARLES SCOTT (1808-12)
of Woodford County.
Scott was born in Virginia. He was a farmer and Revolutionary War soldier, attaining the rank of brigadier general and serving as George Washington's chief of intelligence. He also fought in the French and Indian War and in several Indian campaigns. Scott represented Woodford County in the Virginia Assembly (1789-90). As governor, he worked for the youthful state's financial and military stability. He promoted the career of General, later President, William Henry Harrison. Scott County was named for him.
Attributed to Paul Sawyier, 1907
GEORGE MADISON (1816)
of Franklin County.
Born in Virginia, Madison was a cousin of President James Madison. He was a Revolutionary War soldier and a hero of the War of 1812, during the course of which he was captured at River Raisin. He also fought in various Indian campaigns. Madison was elected governor in 1816 without opposition but died in office the same year, the first Kentucky governor to do so.
Painted by Nicola Marschall, 1907
GABRIEL SLAUGHTER (1816-20)
of Mercer County.
Slaughter was born in Virginia. He was a farmer and soldier, serving as regimental commander at the Battle of New Orleans (1815). Slaughter served as a state legislator and was twice lieutenant governor before becoming governor upon Madison's death.
Painted by Ferdinand G. Walker, 1908
JOHN ADAIR (1820-24)
of Mercer County.
Adair was born in South Carolina. He was a Revolutionary War soldier and fought in various Indian campaigns. Adair was an aide to Governor Isaac Shelby and brigade commander in the Battle of the Thames (1813). He was a member of the state constitutional conventions of 1792 and 1799, a state legislator, and speaker of the state house (1802, 1803). Adair was register of the U.S. land office (1805), a congressman (1831-33), and U.S. senator (1805-06). Adair County was named for him.
Painted by Nicola Marschall, 1908
JOSEPH DESHA (1824-28)
of Franklin and Mason Counties.
Desha was born in Pennsylvania. He was a soldier in various Indian campaigns and an officer at the Battle of the Thames (1813). Desha was a state legislator and congressman (1807-19). As governor, he angered many Kentuckians when he pardoned his son, a convicted murderer, in 1827.
Painted by Katherine Helm, 1908
THOMAS METCALFE (1828-32)
of Nicholas County.
Metcalfe was born in Virginia. He was a soldier in the War of 1812 and a stonemason, nicknamed "Old Stonehammer," who laid stone in the present Old State Capitol. Metcalfe was a state legislator, an ally of Henry Clay, a congressman (1819-28) and a U.S. senator (1848-9). He was the first governor nominated by party convention. He advocated internal improvements and was an early opponent of nullification. He died during the cholera epidemic of 1855. Metcalfe County was named for him.
JOHN BREATHITT (1832-34)
of Logan County.
Breathitt was a Democrat and a lawyer, born in Virginia. He served as a state legislator and lieutenant governor. As governor, he advocated internal improvements and railroads and was an opponent of nullification. He died in office after two years. Breathitt County was named for him.
Painted by Ferdinand G. Walker, 1911
JAMES TURNER MOREHEAD (1834-36)
of Bullitt and Logan Counties.Morehead was a Whig, a state legislator, and lieutenant governor. The first native Kentuckian to serve as governor, he entered office upon the death of Breathitt. Morehead also served as a U.S. senator (1841-47). He was a cousin of Governors Charles S. Morehead and Simon Bolivar Buckner. The city of Morehead was named for him.
JAMES CLARK (1836-39)
of Clark County.
Clark was born in Virginia. He was a Whig, a lawyer, and a state legislator. Clark served as a congressman (1813-16, 1825-31) and, as a circuit court judge, rendered the decision that started the Old Court-New Court fight. As governor, Clark advocated the improvement of public schools. He died in office.
Painted by Sophia DeButts Gray, 1908
CHARLES ANDERSON WICKLIFFE (1839-40)
of Washington and Nelson Counties.
Wickliffe was a Whig and a soldier in the War of 1812. He was also a lawyer, state legislator, and lieutenant governor. He became governor upon the death of Clark. Wickliffe served as a congressman (1823-33) and as postmaster general in the Tyler administration (1841-45). He was the father of Louisiana Governor Robert Wickliffe, grandfather of Governor J.C.W. Beckham and U.S. Rep. Robert Charles Wickliffe, and a cousin of U.S. Senator Martin D. Hardin and U.S. Rep. Benjamin Hardin.
Painted by William Besser, 1908
ROBERT PERKINS LETCHER (1840-44)
of Mercer (now Garrard) County.
Letcher was born in Virginia. He was a Whig, and a lawyer, state legislator, and speaker of the state house (1837-38). Letcher served as a congressman (1823-33), negotiator in the disputed presidential election of 1824-25, and American minister (ambassador) to Mexico (1849-52). Letcher County was named for him.
WILLIAM OWSLEY (1844-48)
of Lincoln County.
Owsley was born in Virginia. He was a Whig, a lawyer, judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals (1813-23), and a state legislator. As governor, Owsley advocated improvements in public school education. Owsley County was named for him.
Painted by Sophia DeButts Gray, 1910
JOHN JORDAN CRITTENDEN (1848-50)
of Woodford and Logan Counties.
Crittenden was a Whig and a lawyer. He was an aide to Governor Shelby during the War of 1812 and was present at the Battle of the Thames (1813). He was also a state legislator and political lieutenant of Henry Clay. A one-time U.S. attorney general (1841), he resigned the governorship to again accept that post (1850-53). Crittenden also served as a congressman (1861-63), U.S. district attorney (1827-29), and U.S. senator (1817-19, 1835-41, 1842-48, 1855-61). Author of the Crittenden Compromise, he desperately worked for conciliation on the eve of the Civil War. Crittenden County was named for him.
Painted by Ferdinand G. Walker, 1909
JOHN LaRUE HELM (1850-51, 1867)
of Hardin County.
Helm was a Whig who later became a Democrat. He was a lawyer, state legislator, speaker of the state house, and lieutenant governor, becoming governor upon Crittenden's resignation. Helm was elected in his own right (as a Democrat) on a platform of reconciliation after the Civil War. Ill upon taking office, Helm was the only governor inaugurated outside the state capital (September 3, 1867) and died five days later. An advocate of internal improvements to foster economic growth, he championed the Louisville & Nashville Railroad.
Painted by Katherine Helm, 1907
LAZARUS WHITEHEAD POWELL (1851)
of Henderson County.
Powell was a Democrat and a lawyer. He served as a state legislator and U.S. senator (1859-65). He favored Kentucky neutrality during the Civil War. As governor, Powell was a strong proponent of public schools and internal improvements. Powell County was named for him.
CHARLES SLAUGHTER MOREHEAD (1855-59)
of Nelson County.Morehead was a Whig and a lawyer. He served as a state legislator, speaker of the state house (1840-41, 1844), and congressman (1847-51). He was a Confederate sympathizer. As governor, Morehead advocated prison reforms. He was a cousin of Governor James Turner Morehead.
BERIAH MAGOFFIN (1859-62)
of Mercer County.
Magoffin was a lawyer, state legislator, and proponent of Kentucky neutrality in the Civil War. As governor at the start of the Civil War, Magoffin refused President Lincoln's call for troops: "I will send not a man nor a dollar for the wicked purpose of subduing my sister Southern States." Though Magoffin also rejected a similar Confederate request, he was forced to resign because of his sympathies. He was permitted to name his successor. Magoffin County was named for him.
Painted by Jessie Anderson Rue, 1909
JAMES F. ROBINSON (1862-63)
of Scott County.
Robinson a Whig who later became a Democrat. He was a lawyer and state senator. Robinson was a staunch Unionist as governor during the Civil War, opposing secession and abolition, but also criticizing the national administration. As governor, he championed higher taxes to support the state militia and education, but, because of the war, accomplished little in either area.
Painted by Louis M. Morgan
THOMAS ELLIOTT BRAMLETTE (1863)
of Cumberland (now Clinton) County.
Bramlette was a "Union Democrat" and a lawyer and circuit judge. He was a major general in the Union army during the Civil War. Bramlette served as a state legislator and U.S. district attorney. As governor, he acted to curb Confederate guerilla raids. Bramlette opposed the Freedmen’s Bureau and the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. He advocated the establishment of what became the University of Kentucky.
Painted by William Ver Bryck, 1874
JOHN WHITE STEVENSON (1867-71)
of Kenton County.
Stevenson was born in Virginia. He was a Democrat and a lawyer. Stevenson served as a state legislator, delegate to the 1849 state constitutional convention, and lieutenant governor. He became governor upon the death of Helm but resigned to enter the U.S. Senate. Stevenson was a congressman (1857-61) and U.S. senator (1871-77). As governor, he established a state bureau of education.
PRESTON HOPKINS LESLIE (1871-75)
of Wayne (now Clinton) County.
Leslie was a Whig and a Democrat. He was a lawyer, circuit court judge, and state legislator, becoming acting governor upon the resignation of Stevenson. Leslie was elected in his own right in 1871. He sponsored the establishment of a public school system for African American children and the admission of African American testimony in state courts. As governor, he prohibited liquor at state functions. Leslie later served as governor of Montana Territory (1887-89) and U.S. district attorney (1894-98). Leslie County was named for him.
Painted by Thomas E. Groves, 1909
JAMES BENNETT McCREARY (1875-79, 1911-15)
of Madison County.
McCreary was a Democrat and a lawyer. He was a Confederate army officer during the Civil War. McCreary served as a state legislator and speaker of state house (1871-75). As governor, he acted in his first term under the theory of limited gubernatorial powers, inspiring little legislation. He sought to curb mountain county violence and advocated the free coinage of silver. He was considered a reformer in his second term. McCreary served as a congressman (1885-97) and U.S. senator (1903-09). McCreary County was named for him.
Painted by Carl Guthery, 1898
LUKE PRYOR BLACKBURN (1879-1883)
of Woodford County.
Blackburn was first a Whig and then a Democrat. He was a state legislator and Confederate agent during the Civil War. As a physician and resident of Natchez, Mississippi, Blackburn gained acclaim for curbing the yellow fever epidemics of 1848 and 1854, and continued the work later in Hickman, Ky., Tennessee, and Florida. As governor, he was a prison reformer, improving conditions and establishing Eddyville penitentiary. He also reorganized the agricultural and mechanical college into what is now the University of Kentucky. Blackburn was the only physician to serve as governor.
Painted by Nicola Marschall, 1883
JAMES PROCTOR KNOTT (1883-87)
of Marion County.
Knott was a Democrat and a lawyer. He was a Missouri state legislator and Kentucky attorney general (1858-62). Knott was a Confederate sympathizer during the Civil War. He also served as a congressman (1867-71, 1875-83). As governor, Knott was a taxation reformer. He was a delegate to the 1890 state constitutional convention and co-founder and dean of Centre College law school (1894).
Painted by Nicola Marschall, 1886
SIMON BOLIVAR BUCKNER (1887-91)
of Hart County.
Buckner was a Democrat. He was a soldier, West Point graduate (1844), and commander of the state militia (1860). Buckner served as the emissary of Governor Magoffin in negotiations to preserve the state's neutrality during the Civil War (1861) and later as a Confederate lieutenant general. As governor, he liberally used his veto power to curb losses of revenue and secretly loaned money to keep the state solvent during the 1890 financial crisis. He was a delegate to the 1890 state constitutional convention and vice presidential nominee of the "Gold Democratic" Party (1896).
Painted by Ferdinand G. Walker, 1914
JOHN YOUNG BROWN (1891-95)
of Hardin and Henderson Counties.
Brown was a Democrat. He served as a congressman (1859-61, 1873-77). Brown was a Confederate sympathizer during the Civil War. He advocated the free coinage of silver and, as governor, presided over a split in the Democratic Party. Brown's “three-year legislature” adjusted laws to the new constitution. He was a nephew of U.S. Reps. Bryan Rust Young and William Singleton Young.
Painted by Paul S. Pearson
WILLIAM O' CONNELL BRADLEY (1895-99)
of Garrard and Pulaski Counties.
Bradley was a Republican and a lawyer. He was admitted to the bar at 18 under a special act of the state legislature. A longtime standard-bearer for his party, Bradley became the first Republican to be elected governor. As governor, he mobilized state troops for service in the Spanish-American War. His accomplishments were limited by political gridlock. His veto of the controversial Goebel Bill was overridden by the state legislature. Bradley was the first Republican governor. He later served as a U.S. senator (1909-14). Bradley was an uncle of Governor Edwin Porch Morrow.
Painted by Jessie Anderson Rue
WILLIAM SYLVESTER TAYLOR (1899-1900)
of Butler County.
Taylor was a Republican and a lawyer. He served as Butler County judge (1886-94) and Kentucky attorney general (1895-99). He defeated state Sen. William Goebel in a bitter contest but lost the governorship when his election was overturned by the state legislature.
Painted by Vesta DePaul
WILLIAM GOEBEL (1900)
of Kenton County.
Goebel was born in Pennsylvania. He was a Democrat and a lawyer. He served as a state senator (1887-1900) and president of the state senate (1897-1900). He was an opponent of railroad interests and was the force behind the controversial Goebel Election Law. He was declared governor (January 31, 1900) after being shot by an assassin (January 30, 1900) on the grounds of the then-Capitol (present Old State Capitol). Goebel was the only governor in U.S. history to die in office as result of assassination (February 3, 1900). He was a bachelor.
Painted by G. Debereiner
JOHN CREPPS WICKLIFFE BECKHAM (1900-1907)
of Nelson County.
Beckham was a Democrat and a lawyer. He served as a state legislator and speaker of the state house (1898). Beckham was declared lieutenant governor in the election decided by the state legislature (January 31, 1900) and became governor upon the death of Goebel (February 3, 1900). He won a special gubernatorial election to fill Goebel’s unexpired term in 1900 and was re-elected in 1903. At 30, he was the youngest person to serve as governor. Beckham was later a U.S. senator (1915-21). He was a grandson of Governor Charles Anderson Wickliffe and nephew of Louisiana Governor Robert Wickliffe.
Painted by Eleanor Beckhum, 1951
AUGUSTUS EVERETT WILLSON (1907-11)
of Mason, Kenton, and Jefferson Counties. Willson was a Republican and a lawyer, a graduate of Harvard College. He was chief clerk of the U.S. Treasury and five-time unsuccessful candidate for Congress. As governor, his legislative agenda was limited by political gridlock. He sent the National Guard to end violence in western Kentucky's “Black Patch War.”
Painted by Martha Scahafer
AUGUSTUS OWSLEY STANLEY (1883-87)
of Shelby and Henderson Counties. Stanley was a Democrat and a lawyer. He served as a congressman (1903-15). As governor, Stanley championed the cause of tobacco growers. He was an opponent of trusts and statewide prohibition. He resigned as governor to enter the U.S. Senate (1919). He was a U.S. senator (1919-25) and a great-nephew of Governor William Owsley.
Painted by Pasquale Farina
JAMES DIXON BLACK (1919)
of Knox County.
Black was a Democrat and a lawyer. He was co-founder and president of Union College. Black served as lieutenant governor, becoming governor upon the resignation of Stanley. As governor, he advocated prohibition laws.
Painted by Thomas E. Grove, 1921
EDWIN PORCH MORROW (1919-23)
of Pulaski County.
Morrow was a Republican and a lawyer. He was an officer in the Spanish-American War and a U.S. district attorney (1910-13). As governor, Morrow gained a national reputation for his efforts to end lynching. He was a strong supporter of woman suffrage and a vocal opponent of the Ku Klux Klan. He established schools that became Murray and Morehead state universities. Morrow was a twin, a nephew of Governor William O'Connell Bradley, and son of 1883 Republican gubernatorial nominee Thomas Z. Morrow.
Painted by Boris B. Gordon, 1921
WILLIAM JASON FIELDS (1923-27)
of Carter County.
Fields was a Democrat and a grocery salesman. His political career began when he won the Ninth District congressional seat in 1910, using the slogan “Honest Bill from Olive Hill.” Serving in Congress from 1911 to 1923, Fields resigned the seat after his election as governor. During his term, Fields fought for highway construction. He also banned dancing at the Governor's Mansion. Fields later became an attorney, serving as a commonwealth’s attorney in the 1930s.
Painted by Arnold Lakhovsky, 1936
FLEM D. SAMPSON (1927-31)
of Laurel County.
Sampson was a Republican and a lawyer. He served as Knox County judge, circuit court judge, and associate (1916-23) and chief justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals (1923-24). As governor, Sampson worked for expansion of the state parks system and established what would become the Kentucky Department of Commerce.
Painted by Harold Collins
RUBY LAFFOON (1931-35)
of Hopkins County.
Laffoon was a Democrat and a lawyer. He served as a circuit court judge before his election as governor. Laffoon declared a bank holiday and closed burley tobacco markets, among other actions, as the state reeled from the Depression. He championed a sales tax to raise matching funds for federal relief programs.
Painted by Harold Collins
ALBERT BENJAMIN CHANDLER (1935-39, 1955-59)
of Henderson and Woodford Counties.
Chandler was a Democrat and a lawyer. He served as a state senator and lieutenant governor before his election as governor. As governor, Chandler increased taxes to fund a program to improve schools, health and welfare efforts, prisons, and the state’s roads. His streamlining of state government led to increased efficiency. He resigned the governorship (1939) to enter the U.S. Senate by pre-arrangement with Lieutenant Governor Keen Johnson. Resigning his Senate seat to become national commissioner of baseball in 1945, Chandler presided over the admission of African Americans into the major leagues. His second term as governor was marked by the enforcement of school desegregation and construction of state and federal highways. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
Painted by A.E. Ulrich and C.S. Gefroer, 1941
KEEN JOHNSON (1939-43)
of Lyon and Madison Counties.
Johnson was a Democrat and a journalist. He served as an officer during World War I. Johnson was serving as lieutenant governor when he became governor in October 1939 upon the resignation of Chandler. Already a candidate for governor, he was elected in his own right the following month. As governor, Johnson gained a reputation for fiscal conservatism. He also prevailed upon the legislature to allow the state’s cities access to power available from the Tennessee Valley Authority of the federal government. He was the only journalist to serve as governor.
Painted by Sudduth Goff, 1943
SIMEON WILLIS (1943-47)
of Greenup County.
Willis was born in Ohio. He was a Republican and a lawyer. He served as an associate justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals (1927-33) prior to his election as governor. During his wartime term, Willis instituted numerous education reforms, new mine safety laws, and improved opportunities for African Americans.
Painted by Harold Collins
EARLE CHESTER CLEMENTS (1947-50)
of Union County.
Clements was a Democrat and a lawyer. He was an Army instructor during World War I. He served as Union County sheriff, county clerk, and county judge before being elected a state senator. He served as a congressman (1945-48), resigning his seat after his election as governor. Clements stressed efficiency and economic development during his term. He pushed road-building and the development of state parks and presided over a drastic increase in tourism. Clements also established the Kentucky State Police and Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center and sought to reduce Ohio River pollution. He resigned as governor to enter the U.S. Senate (1950-57).
Painted by Harold Collins, 1949
LAWRENCE WINCHESTER WETHERBY (1950-55)
of Jefferson County.
Wetherby was a Democrat and a lawyer. He served as a Jefferson County Juvenile Court judge before his election as lieutenant governor. Wetherby became governor upon the resignation of Clements. Armed with a $10 million surplus, Wetherby brought state and local government employees into the Social Security system and increased teachers' salaries and assistance to aid the elderly and blind, dependent children, and wards of the state. He also supported school desegregation and pushed industrialization and the construction of toll roads. Wetherby was elected in his own right in 1951 and later served as a state senator.
Painted by Harold Collins
BERT T. COMBS (1959-63)
of Clay County.
Combs was a Democrat and a lawyer. He served as an officer in World War II and as an associate justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals (1951-60) before his election as governor. Combs won enactment of a three-cent sales tax to fund a program of improvements in education, highways, state parks, and industrial development. He created a Human Rights commission and desegregated public accommodations by executive order. Combs later served as a U.S. Court of Appeals judge (1967-70).
Painted by Jack K. Hodgkin
EDWARD THOMPSON BREATHITT JR. (1963-67)
of Christian County.
Breathitt is a Democrat and a lawyer. He served in World War II and as a state legislator, state commissioner of personnel, and a member of the Kentucky Public Service Commission. As governor, Breathitt obtained funding for a program of highway and state park construction and education improvements through a bond issue. During his administration, Kentucky Educational Television was founded and a civil rights law passed, which prohibited discrimination in public accommodations and employment. In 1972 he became vice president of the Southern Railways System. Breathitt is a nephew of Lieutenant Governor James Breathitt Jr. (1927-31).
Painted by E. Sternberg, 1967
LOUIE BROADY NUNN (1967-71)
of Barren County.
Nunn is a Republican and a lawyer. He served in World War II. Nunn was Barren County judge prior to his election as governor. Faced with an unanticipated deficit upon entering the governorship, Nunn secured a two-cent increase in the state sales tax. He improved primary and secondary education, raising teacher salaries and pushing the development of Kentucky Educational Televison. He added the University of Louisville to the state system and expanded a community college into what became Northern Kentucky University. Nunn pushed for improvements in state mental hospitals, economic development, and further expansion of the state parks system. He also acted to quell campus disturbances during the Vietnam War.
Painted by James S. Wright
WENDELL HAMPTON FORD (1971-74)
of Daviess County.
Ford is a Democrat and was an insurance agent before entering politics. He served in World War II. Ford served as a state senator and lieutenant governor prior to his election as governor. As governor, Ford raised various taxes to fund improvements in aid to dependent children and the aged and food stamp program increases. He increased funding to the University of Louisville and what became Northern Kentucky University. Ford pushed strip-mining regulations and other efforts to improve the environment. He emphasized coal research in the wake of the period’s national energy crisis and presided over the expansion and reorganization of state government departments. He resigned as governor to enter the U.S. Senate, serving from 1974 to 1999.
Painted by Jack K. Hodgkin, 1975
JULIAN MORTON CARROLL (1974-79)
of McCracken County.
Carroll is a Democrat and a lawyer. He served in the U.S. Air Force. He was a state legislator, speaker of the state house (1968-70), and lieutenant governor before becoming governor upon the resignation of Ford. He was elected in his own right in 1975. Placing a priority on education, Carroll increased teachers' salaries and created a School Building Authority to fund construction in poor districts. He emphasized vocational and special education programs and began pilot programs for gifted students. Carroll furthered efforts to develop coal as a fuel alternative to oil. He expanded the state parks system and created the Kentucky Film Commission.
Painted by Jim Cantrell, 1987
JOHN YOUNG BROWN JR. (1979-83)
of Fayette County.
Brown is a Democrat, a lawyer and a businessman. Despite a late entry into the 1979 Democratic primary, Brown road a wave of publicity and television advertisements to his election as governor. He sought to bring businesslike methods to state government and instituted various reforms to that end. He de-politicized state road-building projects, reduced the number of state employees, and drastically reduced the state’s insurance costs. He delegated much of his authority to his subordinates and to the state legislature. With his television-personality wife, Phyllis George, Brown sought national marketing of the state’s products.
Painted by John Michael Carter
MARTHA LAYNE COLLINS (1983-87)
of Shelby and Woodford Counties.
Collins, born Martha Layne Hall, is a Democrat and an educator. She served as clerk of the Kentucky Court of Appeals and lieutenant governor before her election as governor. As governor, Collins unsuccessfully pushed a tax increase that would have funded improvements in elementary and secondary schools. Her emphasis on economic development led to the construction of the Toyota automobile manufacturing plant in Georgetown. Multi-county banking legislation was enacted during her tenure. Collins was the first woman to be governor. After her term, she became president of St. Catharine College in Springfield and served in posts at the University of Kentucky and Georgetown College.
Painted by Sandy Speagle, 1987
WALLACE GLENN WILKINSON (1987-91)
of Casey County.
Wilkinson is a Democrat and a businessman. He was a successful business owner and two-time political campaign staff member prior to his election. As governor, Wilkinson championed a state lottery as a way to raise funds for education. He unsuccessfully pushed for a constitutional amendment to allow statewide elected officials to serve consecutive terms. When the Kentucky Supreme Court declared the state school system unconstitutional, Wilkinson raised taxes to fund education reform, among other programs.
Painted by Marion Ward, 1991
BRERETON C. JONES (1991-95)
of Woodford County.
Jones was born in Ohio. He is a Democrat, a businessman, and horse breeder. He served as a West Virginia state legislator and Kentucky lieutenant governor prior to his election as governor. As governor, Jones continued his work as an education and health-care reformer and helped secure a constitutional amendment to allow statewide elected officials to serve consecutive terms. He also supported legislative funding for construction of the Kentucky History Center.
Painted by Sandy Speagle, 1995
PAUL E. PATTON (1995-2003)
of Lawrence and Pike Counties.
Patton is a Democrat and a retired coal-business operator. He began his political career in 1981 when he was elected Pike County judge-executive. He also served as state Democratic Party chair from 1981 to 1983. After an unsuccessful attempt to win the office of lieutenant governor in 1987, Patton was elected to that position in 1991. He accepted an appointment as state economic development secretary, becoming the first lieutenant governor to serve simultaneously as a cabinet secretary. As governor, Patton placed a priority on economic development, reformed personnel rules for state employees, reconstituted the University of Kentucky community college system into an independent vocational-technology entity, and pushed for completion of the Kentucky History Center. He was the first governor since James Garrard to serve two consecutive terms.
Painted by Maria Simmons, 2003