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.
“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: