Elected in 2011, Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson brings experience, enthusiasm and a deep understanding of local government to the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s executive office.
Lt. Governor Abramson believes Kentuckians are united by a strong sense of values, work ethic and a belief in the significance of quality education.
The Lieutenant Governor has spent countless hours in Kentucky’s big cities, small towns and homegrown communities to promote a better Kentucky, one that creates high-paying jobs, an educated, highly-skilled, trained workforce and a vibrant quality of life for all. He has worked to inspire and involve business leaders, civic leaders, government officials, and private citizens to help Kentucky’s next generation.
Lt. Governor Abramson led the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform, a group representing a broad spectrum of public and private sector experience and all corners of the state. The Commission worked to develop recommendations that would make the state’s tax code more responsive to the ups and downs of the economy, as well as to make taxes more equitable for Kentuckians.
Lt. Governor Abramson is currently the Chair of Kentucky Health Now, the state’s aggressive and wide-ranging health initiative. He has partnered with Governor Steve Beshear on bold initiatives to include 308,000 more Kentuckians in the federal Medicaid health insurance program, and to launch the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange (kynect). The Medicaid expansion, together with the creation of the exchange, will ensure that, for the first time in history, every Kentuckian will have access to affordable health insurance.
He also has concentrated on an array of education-related initiatives, including:
- Worked to expand the “Close the Deal” program, which nurtures a college-going culture in schools where, historically, few kids pursued higher education. He started the program in Louisville during his tenure as mayor. It is now in nine high schools across the state.
- Traveled around the Commonwealth as honorary chairman of a new community and technical college program called Career Craze. The summer program works with middle school students and their parents, to show the path to get the education and training needed for technical careers.
- Joined First Lady Jane Beshear and others in aggressively advocating for the Graduation Bill, which changed state law to keep more kids in school until they graduate.
- Supported various efforts like transfer credits and e-transcripts to make the move from high school to college more affordable and more seamless.
Before becoming Lieutenant Governor, Abramson was the longest-serving mayor in the city of Louisville’s 232-year history, having won election to five terms, two of them over a merged city and county government.
Throughout his years as mayor, Abramson oversaw a dramatic transformation of Louisville. He helped maintain and enhance Louisville’s economy during the nation’s recent economic crisis by bringing the KFC Yum! Center to the city’s waterfront and supporting the expansion of major employers such as UPS, Ford and GE. At the same time, Abramson supported local small business and accelerated the community’s downtown revitalization with the addition of Slugger Field, Waterfront Park, Fourth Street Live, the Frazier History Museum and the Muhammad Ali Center.
In Louisville, Abramson pioneered local public-private partnerships to further policy goals, including “Close the Deal,” which brought together the business, government, education and civic leaders from Greater Louisville to expand the number of high school students going on to college; and the “Louisville Education and EmploymentPartnership” (LEEP), which focused on decreasing the high school dropout rate.
He also collaborated with diverse partners to reinvent Louisville as a “City of Parks” and to develop a nationally recognized public housing model. In 2008, the U.S. Conference of Mayors acknowledged Abramson’s impact when it named Louisville “America’s Most Livable Large City.”
Abramson received a Bachelor of Science in business economics from Indiana University and a law degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He served in the U.S. Army from 1969-1971, and then went on to two terms on Louisville’s Board of Aldermen. In addition to privately practicing law, he served in state government as general counsel to Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown Jr.
He and his wife, Madeline, have a son, Sidney.