Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton.
Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton.

Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton has a degree in industrial engineering, served in the U.S. Air Force as a computer systems officer and spent 19 years in the corrugated packaging industry.

Getting into politics was never part of the plan.

Yet, a year ago, Hampton was elected lieutenant governor of Kentucky, becoming the first African-American to hold statewide office. She told a group of students from across the country about her journey on Nov. 18 as part of an Engineering Leadership Summit held at the University of Louisville.

UofL students participate in the Engineering Leadership Summit.
UofL students participate in the Engineering Leadership Summit.

“This was not on my to-do list,” Hampton said to the students. “You never know where you’re going to end up. You never know what skills you’re going to have. Don’t be shocked if your path takes an unexpected turn.”

Hampton, who lives in Bowling Green, got involved in politics through her interest in issues advanced by the Tea Party movement. Through the Tea Party, she met Matt Bevin, who eventually asked her to be part of his successful run for governor.

Hampton’s talk at the leadership summit was sponsored by the Speed School Student Council and included participation by more than 40 students from more than 15 universities.

She encouraged the students to get involved in the political process and even consider running for office, if that is their passion.

“We need people who think like engineers,” Hampton said.

Check out a video from the event below: 

John Karman, III
John Karman joined the Office of Communications and Marketing in 2014 after a 20-plus year career as a Louisville journalist. He has served as director of media relations since 2015. In that role, he answers reporters’ inquiries and is the university’s main spokesperson. John was a reporter for Business First of Louisville from 1999 to 2013. There, he won numerous awards from the Louisville chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists and American City Business Journals, parent company to Business First. John can die happy after seeing the Chicago Cubs win the 2016 World Series, although he would also enjoy another title.