Hampton on final year in office: 'If we were doing a TV series, no one would believe it'

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Jenean Hampton made history four years ago as the first African-American elected to a statewide office in Kentucky, alongside Governor Matt Bevin, R-Kentucky.

"If you would have told me on that day that it would have ended this way in my final year, I never would have scripted the year this way," Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton told WKYT. (WKYT)

Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton says making history is not why she ran for office. Instead, she desired to work for the people of Kentucky and make an impact in the office.

Now, as Hampton prepares to leave her office, she's talking to WKYT's Hillary Thornton about all that's happened and what she's most proud of during her time in office.

Hampton and Bevin parted ways with the governor choosing a new running mate for his reelection campaign, but she says she has no ill feelings toward him because of that decision.

"It's normal. It's a governor's prerogative who his running mate is, and I told people, "Don't be angry that he didn't choose me.' I'm not angry about that. That's not the piece I'm angry about," said Hampton.

In an unprecedented move, Hampton sued the governor over the firing of her chief of staff and deputy chief of staff.

Hampton told WKYT she chose not to vote for the governor in his reelection bid because of how he treated other people, particularly, her staff members, who he fired.

She thinks all of that made a difference in Bevin's narrow loss to Andy Beshear in the race for governor.

"I think I could have made that up and then some," Hampton said.

The lt. governor says seeing all of the preparations underway for Inauguration Day brings back feelings from her inauguration. Hampton says those feelings are far different from what she's experienced in the last part of her term.

"I remember the excitement around our inauguration. The entire day was just magic, and there was so much energy and goodwill," said Hampton. "If you would have told me on that day that it would have ended this way in my final year, I never would have scripted the year this way. However, I know after a lot of prayers, the Lord is doing something. I don't know what that is, and sometimes I know you don't know what the Lord is doing until well down the road. Hopefully, somewhere soon down the road, all of this will make perfect sense.

"But no, I never would have scripted this year, and if we were doing a TV series, no one would believe it."

Hampton says despite everything that has gone on, she doesn't regret one minute of her time in office because she feels like she was able to make an impact.

During her term, Hampton started several programs, including an entrepreneurship challenge that she says is like 'Shark Tank' for high school students. About $250,000 was awarded in scholarships through that program.

Hampton also spearheaded a STEM challenge for middle school girls and the Kentucky Aerospace Industry Consortium.

The lt. governor also made hundreds of school visits around the state during her time in office.

"If I have inspired someone to dream more than they would have otherwise and to maybe reach a little further, then these four years have been so worth it, so worth the effort," said Hampton.

Hampton hopes there's more to what she's remembered for.

"I hope that they remember that I really came in with a heart to serve and that I actually served," said Hampton.

Hampton told WKYT she's not sure what her next step is, and she's praying about that decision.

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