Meet Jenean Hampton, First Black Statewide Officeholder in Kentucky

by Raheem Karim
Jenean Hampton

Jenean Hampton is first the African-American to win statewide office in Kentucky. She was elected lieutenant governor. She joins U.S. Sen. Tim Scott from South Carolina as the only black statewide elected officials in the South. Both are Republicans.

Hampton grew up on Detroit’s west side, one of four daughters to Donald and Marie Hampton. She was seven when her parents divorced and she learned a lot from watching her mother—who did not have a high school diploma—provide for the girls on a tight budget, often finding work cleaning houses.

When the family did acquire a TV, Hampton was passionate about everything NASA — never missing an opportunity to watch space mission launches and landings.

The Detroit native’s professional career began when she worked her way through college in the automobile industry, earning a degree in Industrial Engineering from Wayne State University in 1985.

Before pursuing public office, Hampton was a plant manager in a corrugated packaging plant and worked there was 19 years. She spent seven years in the Air Force, including deployment to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Storm. While in Saudi Arabia, she rose to the ranks of Air Force Captain, responsible for overseeing critical radar software used in search and rescue missions.

Hampton has been married for 14 years to Doyle Issak, a retired Air Force Officer. Together they live in Bowling Green, Kentucky

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