11:52 am
Thu October 25, 2012

A Timeline of David Williams' Career

Williams Bio

59 years old.  Native of Burkesville.

Graduate of University of Kentucky (undergrad) and University of Louisville law school.

Attorney by trade, but shuttered law practice for good in 2011 to run for governor

Political Life

  • Ran for a Cumberland County judgeship in 1977, fresh out of law school, but lost.
  • Elected and served one term in state House 1985-96.
  • Elected to the state Senate in 1987.
  • Becomes Kentucky State Chairman for soon-to-be President George H.W. Bush in 1987.
  • Became Minority Caucus Chair of the Senate in 1990.
  • Ran the gubernatorial primary campaign of Congressman Larry Hopkins in 1991, but was at one time considered to be Lieutenant Governor of the ticket.  
  • Ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford in 1992, said years later he learned “you don’t run against living legends.”
  • Decides at the last minute to run for a Commonwealth’s Attorney position back home in 1993. He loses. But is re-elected to the state Senate the next year.
  • Became Minority Floor Leader of the state Senate in 1999.
  • Thanks the work of a leadership coup two years prior and the switch of State Sens. Dan Seum and Bob Leeper from Democrats to Republicans, Williams becomes Senate president in 2000.
  • In 2010, Williams flirts with running for U.S. Senate again, but declares he won’t challenge U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning in a primary. Bunning is pushed out for running again and Williams quietly supports Rand Paul in a Republican primary. Paul wins the seat.
  • In 2011, Williams successfully wins the Republican nomination for governor. But a slew of problems, from fundraising to his selection of Richie Farmer for the ticket, lead to a 20 point loss to Gov. Steve Beshear.

Policy Stances

In 1990, Williams votes for the Kentucky Education Reform Act, a vote that is championed at the time but will come to haunt him in Republican primaries for years to come. It’s viewed as landmark legislation that changed Kentucky’s education system for the better and Williams broke with his party to pass it into law.

Publicly feuded with Governor Paul Patton over tax reform, including an increase in the gasoline tax. Williams was a key roadblock for Patton’s attempts.

Has repeatedly blocked Governor Steve Beshear’s attempt for expanded gambling and casinos in Kentucky, even orchestrating a big defeat of the proposal in the state Senate in 2012.