Julian Carroll, a former governor of Kentucky who spearheaded initiatives to update the state’s justice system and public schools in the 1970s and subsequently reignited his political career as a state lawmaker, passed away on Sunday, according to his family. He was 92.
Carroll influenced many policies in Kentucky since he became governor when governors from the Bluegrass State still had a disproportionate say in state policymaking. The corruption scandal that occurred with a former head of the state Democratic Party, however, stained his administration in the end.
After serving as governor from 1974 to 1979, Democrat Carroll successfully ran for and was re-elected to the position of state senator in 2004.
Carroll had a long and distinguished political career, and Republican House Speaker David Osborne sent his “deepest sympathy” to Carroll’s family on their loss.
While Carroll was a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, he served five terms and was speaker from 1968 to 1970. After becoming lieutenant governor in 1971, he succeeded Gov. Wendell Ford in December 1974 when the latter resigned to serve in the United States Senate.
Although it was unusual for a governor of Kentucky to run for reelection as an incumbent a year later, Carroll had little trouble securing a full term in office.
He presided over an era of relative economic growth. As a result of the Arab oil embargo, the coal sector saw a boom, and Carroll’s government received a substantial amount of money from the coal severance tax.
Carroll spearheaded the effort to do away with private bail bonds, and the state poured resources into increasing teacher pay and providing students with free textbooks. He created the School Building Authority to assist low-income school districts in constructing new buildings. Additionally, the systems of vocational and special education were strengthened.
As a result of the tragic fire that destroyed the Beverly Hills Supper Club in northern Kentucky, he oversaw the expansion of the state’s park systems and tightened fire safety regulations in Kentucky.
As the head of the National Governors Association, Carroll assumed a position of national leadership.
After being married for almost 60 years, his wife, Charlann Harting Carroll, passed away in 2014 when she was 81 years old.
According to his family, funeral plans for the former governor are still pending.