The Corner

How Kentucky’s New Black Lieutenant Governor Became a Conservative

My piece on Jenean Hampton, the tea-party activist who is now the first African-American to be elected statewide in Kentucky, made the Drudge Report and has stirred up curiosity on just how she became a conservative.

It turns out, according to a profile by Phillip Bailey last month in the Louisville Courier-Journal, her own family was curious about her political turn.

“That I’m conservative, Republican, didn’t support Obama — (my father) just could not wrap his arms around that,” she told Bailey. She said she grew up poor in Detroit feeling that government and even people around her were rooting for her to fail:

A huge part of what formed my opinions was the peer pressure that I got to fail. These were kids who questioned my good grades, questioned the way I spoke, questioned my choice in music and the fact that I was reading all the time. I just remember wondering, “Well, jeez, when do I get to just be Jenean with my own likes and dislikes?”

Hampton says she has felt like an outsider in the Republican party. She cheered when House speaker John A. Boehner (R., Ohio) resigned, noting, “In some instances the Republican party as a whole has strayed from its roots, its own platform.” But now she and fellow tea-party activist Matt Bevin, the new governor-elect, are the party establishment.

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