Paul Patton


Paul Patton served as Kentucky’s 59th governor from 1995 to 2003. He knows firsthand the importance of a good transportation system to all aspects of life for Kentucky.  Governor Patton was personally involved in improving the efficiency of Kentucky’s road building and maintenance programs and worked tirelessly as a national advocate to secure additional federal funding for the construction of Kentucky roads and other transportation modes.

A mechanical engineering graduate of the University of Kentucky, Governor Patton spent 20 years building a successful coal business.  Through these early experiences, he learned the importance of good transportation for the economic success of Kentucky. In 1979, he accepted the call of public service as the Deputy Secretary of the Transportation Cabinet under the administration of Governor John Y. Brown, Jr. In 1981, he was elected Judge Executive of Pike County. He earned a reputation as a no-nonsense public administrator who concentrated on improving rural and arterial roads.  Elected as Lieutenant Governor under Governor Brereton Jones, he concurrently served as the Secretary of Economic Development.  Elected governor in 1995 and reelected in 1999, he became a national leader who continuously advocated for improved transportation.  As Governor, he also served as chair of many national organizations including the Southern Growth Policy Board, the Southern Governors Association, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the National Governors Association (NGA).

Governor Patton took leadership roles for transportation for the NGA. He was instrumental in working with Congress to secure one of the most comprehensive highway spending bills ever enacted by Congress…TEA-21.  As a result of his leadership, Kentucky significantly increased its share of federal transportation funds. As Chair of NGA in 2003, he strongly advocated the principles that were incorporated into SAFETEA-LU.  During his memorable testimony before Congress, Governor Patton said:  “I know roads! I know how to build them; I know how to use them; and I know what the lack of them can mean to people…As a businessman I know what a competitive disadvantage that obsolete roads can create. As an engineer, I know there is only one solution; safe, modern highways serving all of America, keeping our industries competitive in a world economy, our children safe on the way to school, our communities connected to that larger world that we all want to be a part of some of the time, even as we value the serenity of our own neighborhood.”  Governor Patton knows “Transportation Matters”!

Since 2009, Governor Patton has served as the 19th President of the University of Pikeville.

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