Lt. Governor-elect Jenean Hampton poised to make Kentucky histor - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Lt. Governor-elect Jenean Hampton poised to make Kentucky history

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- A few months ago, Jenean Hampton was little known outside of her home of Bowling Green.

Now, she is about to become the first African American ever to hold statewide office in Kentucky.

When Jenean Hampton takes the oath of office in December on a stage which is still under construction, she will assume a unique place in Kentucky history. But that's something the soon-to-be Lt. Governor prefers not to dwell on.

“I do have a sense of the history, but God's not going to let that go to my head, I can tell you that,” Hampton told WDRB News.

It's a long way to Kentucky's state Capitol from inner city Detroit, where Hampton was born into what she calls, a less than ideal financial situation.

But even at a young age, Hampton says she knew she would not be defined by her circumstances.

“Yes, you're surrounded by blight and trash, graffiti and weeds, and boarded up homes, but I knew I wasn't stuck,” said Hampton.

She says the key was education. Hampton worked at General Motors to pay her way through college, and despite lucrative job offers, joined the Air Force with dreams of being an astronaut.

“I knew my eyes ruled me out, I knew that I didn't have the stellar grades that would make me an astronaut, but I didn't give up hope,” she said.

Hampton says it was during the Air Force years, while Ronald Reagan was president, that she developed her conservative politics.

“The Republican Party platform most closely aligned with my whole approach to life; personal responsibility, opportunity, colorblindness,” she said.

Hampton later became active in the Tea Party. She lost a run for the state House last year, and was about to put politics on the back burner when Matt Bevin called.

“I believed that he had some skills that could truly help turn Kentucky around, and I was really excited about that,” she said.

And now Hampton is poised to make history.

“I pray every day just to do God's will, to live in a way that pleases Him. And I know that if I do that, then I can do the right things for Kentucky.”

WDRB asked Hampton what will be going through her mind when she's sworn in on Dec. 8th. Ever practical, Hampton said, mainly, the big job ahead.

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