Legislative Feature: Representative Ken Upchurch
EKU Alumnus, Now Kentucky Legislator
“I am proud to call myself an Eternal Colonel.” – Representative Ken Upchurch
By: Zach Holman
Ken Upchurch is the representative for Kentucky’s 52nd District, which covers McCreary, Wayne, and parts of Pulaski County. Upchurch was born in Richmond, but was raised and currently resides in Monticello in Wayne County. Upchurch has served in the Kentucky House from 1999 to 2010, and from 2013 to present. He is also the publisher for the Monticello Stage, a community newspaper in his hometown.
Upchurch graduated from Eastern Kentucky University class in 1991 with a degree in political science. He knew during his time at Eastern that he wanted to make a change. He wanted to be more included in political campaigns and government relations, so that he would be prepared for a future in politics.
“I thought one day maybe the opportunity would present itself,” Upchurch said. “You never know. You’ve got to make yourself ready.”
Upchurch was a member of several organizations at Eastern. He was the Student Government Association (SGA) president and Student Regent on the Board of Regents and was involved in Greek life. Upchurch said some of his most memorable moments at EKU came from his involvement in SGA.
“I loved getting to know Dr. Doug Whitlock (who would later become president) through SGA,” Upchurch said. “Also, Dr. Thomas Myers, who was the vice president of student affairs and the adviser for SGA, became like a second father to me.”
Sometimes, Upchurch will jokingly advise students against a career in politics.
“I tell my friends when they ask, ‘My advice is don’t do it’,’” Upchurch said. “It can be very tongue and cheek. But if you were looking for a political career, I would advise you to be involved with the SGA. A political science degree isn’t always a necessity. I would also get an internship with a local politician if you can.”
Upchurch says he is proud to be a Colonel, and describes Eastern’s campus as warm and inviting.
“To me it’s the most beautiful campus in the state, and probably the country,” Upchurch said. “Driving or walking through campus makes you wish you were a student all over again.
“In 25 years you’ll look at it entirely different,” he added. “You’ll want just one more year there. Once a Colonel always a Colonel, and I am proud to call myself an ‘Eternal Colonel.’”
Upchurch and his wife have one daughter. He is known in the House for his support of small businesses and agriculture. In 2002, he was elected as the House Republican Whip and held the position for two terms.
Published on February 22, 2016