As part of Centre College’s Poverty & Homelessness Week, Nov. 10-17, former Kentucky governor Paul Patton will give a convocation address to the campus community on Monday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m., in Newlin Hall in the Norton Center for the Arts. This event is free and open to the public.
The theme for this year’s initiative is to help bring awareness and combat poverty and homelessness issues in the region of Eastern Kentucky.
The convocation will cover some of the economic realities of Eastern Kentucky from a man who has worked closely not only in Kentucky politics but also in the attempted economic and environmental restructuring. There will be time for questions and audience participation.
Patton served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1972, before turning to local politics to serve as the county judge executive of Pike County, Kentucky, for three terms, where much of his work on poverty alleviation and rural development began.
During this time, Patton worked to unionize Pike County employees through the Teamsters and to have the Kentucky Rural Economic Development Act passed, which incentivized businesses to locate in rural counties that were considered economically depressed.
In 1991, Patton was elected to the position of lieutenant governor, serving under Governor Bremerton Jones, who also appointed him also as Secretary of Economic Development in the governor’s cabinet. As Lieutenant Governor, he also served as president of the Kentucky Senate until a state constitutional change was enacted in 1992.
At the end of his term as lieutenant governor, Patton ran for the Democratic party in the governor’s race of 1995. After a successful campaign, Patton became the first Eastern Kentucky governor since the election of Bert T. Combs in 1959.
Patton’s influence on legislation stretched wide, beginning with worker’s compensation reform, and covering a wider variety of topics. These include sweeping reforms to both the juvenile justice and first-time offenders court proceedings, and his almost complete reworking of the Kentucky higher education system (particularly the community and technical college system) in order to allow easier access and transferable credits between schools.
Though his work in education is what Patton is most known for, his other work received national attention with Attorney General Janet Reno calling Kentucky’s juvenile justice system, “A model for the nation.” Patton was then elected for a second term as governor is 1999, where he served until 2003.
After the end of his political career, Patton returned to Pike County serving on the Big Sandy Regional Economic Development Board and the Pikeville/Pike County Industrial and Economic Authority. It was soon after that he was chosen to serve as chairman of the Kentucky Council on Post-secondary Education (CPE) and then, in 2010, was officially inducted as the president of Pikeville College.
Today, he continues to serve as chancellor of the University of Pikeville and has recently seen the opening of the Paul E. Patton College of Education on the University of Pikeville’s campus.
by Centre College News
November 12, 2018
IF YOU GO
Convocation with former Kentucky governor Paul Patton
Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.
Newlin Hall in the Norton Center for the Arts
Free and open to the public