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The cornerstone of the American republic is an educated, active, and engaged citizenry; however, the multifaceted inner workings of government and the political forces that shape it are incredibly complex. Kentucky Government, Politics, and Public Policy is the first book in nearly three decades to provide a comprehensive overview of the commonwealth’s major governing and political institutions and the public policy issues that profoundly affect Kentuckians’ daily lives.

In this groundbreaking volume, editors James C. Clinger and Michael W. Hail have assembled respected scholars from across the state to inform citizens about their governing institutions, the consequences of their policy choices, and the intricacies of the political process. They provide clear and authoritative information on Kentucky’s government and explain significant trends and patterns, exploring the legacy of the state’s political history and illuminating the contributions of influential Kentucky politicians such as Henry Clay, Abraham Lincoln, and Jefferson Davis.

The contributors also address essential topics such as the structure and function of the three branches of government, the constitution, and federalism and intergovernmental relations, as well as administration, budgeting, and finance. They analyze key issues in education policy, economic and community development, and health care in great detail, explaining persistently controversial topics such as campaign finance, the cost of elections, ethics, and the oversight of regulatory agencies. From the executive branch to the legislature, from the court system to political parties, there is no better primer on government in the commonwealth.

James C. Clinger is associate professor of government and director of the masters of public administration at Murray State University.

Michael W. Hail is professor of government, assistant dean of the School of Public Affairs, and the director of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) and government graduate programs at Morehead State University.

With a blend of interviews of current political players, historical information, and hard data, Taking Kentucky Politics Seriously should serve as the go-to text in the library of any student, journalist, scholar or engaged citizen who yearns to understand how Kentucky's government works--or doesn't. -- Ryan Alessi, managing editor of Time Warner Cable's cn|2 political coverage

The book will be a valuable reference for those who follow politics and public-policy debates. -- The Courier-Journal

The book is overdue because there has been no such comprehensive volume about Kentucky government and politics since the state Senate went Republican 14 years ago... -- Kentucky Standard

[...] there is little doubt the book is a historical and cultural exploration of the first order order...If you could only read one book that explains politics in Kentucky, this a good choice. -- Bowling Green Daily News

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Kentucky, Politics, Government


American Politics


Edited by James C. Clinger and Michael W. Hail

Forewords by Senator Mitch McConnell and Trey Grayson

Kentucky Government, Politics, and Public Policy
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