Early youth and advancement
Keen Johnson received his education at Vanderbilt Boys School, Central College in Missouri and the University of Kentucky , which he successfully graduated in 1922. His studies were interrupted for about a year during World War I because Johnson had volunteered for the army. After the war and the end of his studies, he turned to journalism. Between 1920 and 1939 he worked as an editor or publisher for several newspapers. From 1932 Johnson was politically active for the Democratic Party . That year he became a member of the party executive in Kentucky. In 1935 he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky. In this function, he took over the office of governor in October 1939 from Albert Chandler , who gave up his governorship in Kentucky in favor of a mandate in the US Senate .
At the time of his inauguration he was in the middle of the campaign for the regular election of 1939. Chandler's resignation came just two months before the end of his normal term and Johnson had already applied to succeed him. His candidacy was hotly contested within his party. He fought a tough primary campaign with John Y. Brown . With the help of Chandler, Johnson was able to prevail. In return, Johnson appointed Chandler a senator in Washington immediately after his resignation to take the place of a deceased senator. The actual gubernatorial election was won by Keen Johnson against King Swope with 56.5% of the vote.
As governor, he continued Chandler's policy. The budget consolidation was a success, and by the end of his term in office he had even generated a surplus. During this period, from October 1939 to December 1943, the so-called Tennessee Valley Act was passed, a law that allowed Kentucky municipalities to buy electricity and then sell it to consumers. Governor Johnson also continued to develop the education system and sponsored social programs. An essential aspect in this regard was the expansion of the public health system. The expansion of the state's own prisons was also pushed ahead. Since December 7, 1941, the day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor , the United States has been drawn into World War II. Governor Johnson fully supported the policies of the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration . The war brought Kentucky full employment. The last unemployed of the world economic crisis found jobs, either in the arms industry or in the military. The state benefited economically from this war.
Johnson's tenure as governor of Kentucky ended on December 7, 1943. He then worked for the Reynolds Metal Company in various positions until 1961 . Between 1946 and 1947 he was also Deputy Minister of Labor ( Under Secretary of Labor ) under President Harry S. Truman . Until 1948 he was also on the board of the Democratic National Group of Kentucky. In 1960 he was a Democratic candidate for the US Senate, but lost to John Sherman Cooper . His last public office was between 1961 and 1964 as a member of the Kentucky Board of Education . Keen Johnson died on February 7, 1970. He was married to Eunice Nichols. They had a child together.
- Keen Johnson at the National Governors Association (English)
- Keen Johnson in the database of Find a Grave (English)
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||American politician|
|DATE OF BIRTH||January 12, 1896|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Lyon County , Kentucky|
|DATE OF DEATH||7th February 1970|
|Place of death||Richmond , Kentucky|