Keen Johnson Photo

Keen Johnson

Born: Jan 12, 1896

Death: Feb 7, 1970

Birthplace: Lyon County

Profession: Politician

Nationality: United States

Keen Johnson

Date of Birth : Jan 12, 1896
Date of Death : Feb 7, 1970
Birth Place : Lyon County

Keen Johnson was the 45th Governor of Kentucky, serving from 1939 to 1943; he is the only journalist to have held that office. After serving in World War I, Johnson purchased and edited the Elizabethtown Mirror newspaper. He revived the struggling paper, sold it to a competitor and used the profits to obtain his journalism degree from the University of Kentucky in 1922. After graduation, he became editor of The Anderson News, and in 1925, he accepted an offer to co-publish and edit the Richmond Daily Register. In 1935, Johnson was chosen as the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor. He was elected and served under Governor A. B. "Happy" Chandler from 1935 to 1939. He had already secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1939 when Chandler resigned and elevated Johnson to governor so that Johnson could appoint Chandler to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the death of M. M. Logan. He went on to win a full gubernatorial term in the general election, defeating Republican King Swope. Johnson's desire to expand the state's social services was hampered by the financial strain imposed on the state by the outbreak of World War II.


  • Politician
  • Journalist


  • Eunice Nichols
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