Coming up on the end of her term in office, Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton said she holds no animosity toward Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.
“I have no ill will at all, none at all,” Hampton said. “Certainly this is not how I would have scripted my last year in office, but I know the Lord is working to do something, so it’s all good.”
Hampton and Bevin’s relationship took a turn this year when he replaced Hampton on his reelection ticket, and when Hampton sued Bevin in an effort to stop Bevin’s dismissal of her top two staffers.
Hampton spoke this morning at Oldham County Middle School (OCMS) for the school’s annual Veterans Day event. At the conclusion of the event, she took questions from reporters as well as veterans who were in attendance.
On Tuesday, Bevin failed to secure his reelection bid and lost to Democrat Attorney General Andy Beshear. Bevin has refused to concede the election and is asking for a recanvass.
Oldham County voted for Bevin over Beshear, by a margin of about 1,300 votes, but Beshear edged out a victory statewide.
Hampton said she was also following Tuesday’s election.
“Certainly was a nail biter there and I was kind of surprised by some of the results in certain places, but it’s an election and the people have spoken,” Hampton said.
Elected alongside Bevin in 2015, Hampton became the first African-American in Kentucky history to hold statewide office and the fourth woman to serve as lieutenant governor.
One man in attendance asked Hampton when she was going to run for governor. She first responded she gets asked that question a lot.
She went on to say there were people who encouraged her to run in the Republican primary against Bevin or even run as a write-in candidate. She said she prayed about both instances but didn’t pursue them.
“Nothing is out, nothing is off the table,” Hampton said. “I never envisioned I’d be lieutenant governor, if it was up to me I’d be programming like I did in high school and college and the Air Force, so who knows.”
Hampton served in the United States Air Force as a computer systems officer, later attaining the rank of Captain. Her seven years in the Air Force included her deployment in Operation Desert Storm. In 2015, she was inducted into the Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame.
As lieutenant governor, Hampton has traveled to over 200 schools in the Commonwealth, often speaking about military and veterans affairs to students as she did at OCMS. During her time in office, she’s championed initiatives focused on Kentucky’s youth, such as entrepreneurship and education.
Traveling to schools like OCMS is important for her because she said she wants students to have knowledge for the role of the military in the U.S. and an appreciation of their freedoms.
Speaking to the veterans at the closing of the assembly, Hampton said she felt her time in office had been an extension of her military service and pondered on some of the similarities of the two.
“I’m away from my family and that time away from my family reminds me a lot of being in the military, so it’s a sacrifice but it has been a worthy sacrifice,” she said. “I would ask that any of you to please consider service in elected office in some capacity.”
With her term in office soon ending, Hampton said she has no solid plans as of yet for her career, but hopes she’ll be able to continue traveling to schools and working with the youth in the state.