Prominent Democratic Figure Leaves Behind a Legacy of Public Service
Democratic former Kentucky Governor Julian Carroll, a well-known and influential figure in the state’s political landscape, has passed away at the age of 92, according to family sources. Carroll served as the Bluegrass State’s governor from 1974 to 1979 and later held a seat in the state Senate from 2004 to 2021.
A Life Dedicated to Public Service
Governor Andy Beshear, a fellow Democrat, expressed his condolences on social media, noting that Carroll had dedicated his entire career to public service. Throughout the decades, Carroll tirelessly worked to support public education and advocate for those he represented in Frankfort.
Carroll’s family released a statement expressing their grief and emphasizing his unwavering faith, positive outlook on life, and love for his family. His family also acknowledged his giving heart and warm embrace, which will be deeply missed.
A Career of Distinction
Carroll, a Democrat, served as governor from 1974 to 1979, making a successful comeback in 2004 when he was elected as a state senator. Senate President Robert Stivers, a Republican, praised Carroll’s distinguished career, recognizing that few will achieve the level of distinction he attained. House Speaker David Osborne, also a Republican, extended his deepest sympathies to Carroll’s family, acknowledging the former governor’s decades-long political life.
Accomplishments and Contributions
During his tenure, Carroll governed during a time of economic prosperity. The oil embargo by Arab countries resulted in a coal industry boom, providing ample funding through the coal severance tax. Carroll used these resources to eliminate the private bail bond system, invest in teacher salaries, provide free textbooks, and establish a School Building Authority to aid underprivileged school districts.
Carroll also played a significant role in expanding the state parks system and passing stricter fire-safety laws following a tragic fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club in northern Kentucky. His leadership extended beyond Kentucky as he served as chairman of the National Governors Association.
Legacy and Later Years
Following his time in office, Carroll faced a federal grand jury investigation, which indirectly implicated the former chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party. Although he was not charged, the investigation cast a shadow over his post-gubernatorial years. Carroll then pursued a career in law and attempted a political comeback in 1987, albeit unsuccessfully.
Born on April 16, 1931, in McCracken County, Julian Morton Carroll was the third of eleven children. He served as an Air Force attorney for three years after graduating from the University of Kentucky law school in 1956. Carroll’s political journey began in 1960 when he led a successful public referendum campaign that allowed the Tennessee Valley Authority to provide electricity to McCracken County, resulting in lower electric costs.
Carroll’s wife, Charlann Harting Carroll, passed away in 2014 after more than 60 years of marriage. Funeral arrangements for the former governor are currently pending, as announced by his family.