Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton talks to Catlettsburg Elementary fifth grade students and answers questions.
From Mike James, Daily Independent
May 1, 2018
CATLETTSBURG: Her boss has been facing tough questions from teachers, but Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton confronted an even more rugged ordeal Tuesday: a Q and A session with primary school kids at Catlettsburg Elementary.
Among the pointed questions:
— If you love boxes so much, asked one child about Hampton’s career history as a container-industry manager, how come you didn’t just stay there?
— Do you actually race? asked another, a bit confused about the terminology of political contests.
— Why does my dad have to keep fixing his truck? asked a third, after learning Hampton’s academic and career background is in engineering and one of her childhood amusements was taking things apart to see how they work.
It was all part of the job for Hampton, who visits scores of schools across the Commonwealth and by now is an expert at fielding queries from kindergartners. “I love this age group. They can’t sit still and they’re full of questions,” she said before plunging into a gymnasium full of children.
The most common question at these sessions is what a lieutenant governor does. “I had to look it up myself,” she said.
The answer, at least under Kentucky law, is the lieutenant governor is first in line to succeed the governor in case of death or incapacitation, and serves on various commissions, authorities and councils.
Hampton also works with a slew of initiatives that include entrepreneurship, education, aviation and aerospace, and military and veteran affairs — and visiting schools.
But the Catlettsburg students kept her busy all morning and into the afternoon visiting their rooms, reading books and talking about reading, engineering and aerospace, all of which were her primary-school preoccupations and shaped her life.
In the school lobby, Hampton commented on the pension and budget issues that brought sharp criticism to her boss, Gov. Matt Bevin, from Kentucky teachers during massive demonstrations during the General Assembly: “I think we displayed our commitment (to public education) by putting a record amount of money into the pension system. I’m not sure how you can be angry with that.
“We’re trying to save it so Kentucky can keep the promises it made to teachers and other state employees.”
Teachers and their advocates say the pension bill doesn’t do that, but instead changes the terms of what has been dubbed the “inviolable contract.”
Shortly after that, Hampton was escorted to a third-grade classroom where someone chose a book for her to read to the children.
It was a story about a squirrel who wakes up from hibernation, entitled “A Promise is a Promise.”
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