Billy Harper speaks Fifth in Campbellsville University Gubernatorial Candidate Forums

By Joan C. McKinney, director of university communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University will host Republican businessman Billy Harper, candidate for governor, as the fifth in a series of gubernatorial candidate forums at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 10 in the Little Auditorium.

The sessions are sponsored by CU’s Kentucky Heartland Institute for Public Policy (KHIPP) and Team Taylor County.

John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations at CU and executive assistant to the president who is the founder of KHIPP, said all of the major candidates have been asked to participate in the forums.

Each event is open to the public.

Chowning said each of the candidates will also be featured on his TV-4 television show, “Dialogue on Public Issues” which is shown on Monday and Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m., Mondays at 6:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

The Harper interview will be aired on Comcast Cable 10 on Monday, April 16 and Wednesday, April 18.

“We at Campbellsville University and at Team Taylor County are honored to be able to host these gubernatorial forums,” said Chowning. “Our goal is to allow the public to listen to the major candidates, hear their goals and platforms, and then make educated judgments on who to vote for in May. We also deeply appreciate the financial support of our local banks who are helping underwrite the costs of the series of candidate forums.”

Announcements will be made on each candidate forum during the series.

“We invite everyone to come hear these candidates and to watch the show on our TV-4,” said Chowning.

For more information on the events, contact Chowning at (270) 789-5520 or at

Harper’s biography can be found on his Web site at

Brought up on a farm in Western Kentucky and for many years a resident of Paducah, Harper graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering in 1966. In 1980, Harper founded Harper Industries Inc., a holding company. Subsidiaries initially included a general contractor, a mechanical contractor and a ready-mix concrete operation. Today, Harper still serves as president of Harper Industries, which now includes seven construction-related subsidiaries with offices in Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas, and has construction sites in more than 20 states.

Harper has been an active participant in the Chamber of Commerce and economic development at local and state levels. His professional experience convinced him that an educated workforce was a vital economic development tool for any community, and he is one of Kentucky’s leading advocates for education. He was chairman of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in 1989-90. During this time, he traveled the state promoting education reform. Harper continues to promote education through his involvement in the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Partnership for School Reform and the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.

Harper has served on state and national boards for the Council of Economic Education and the Governor’s Scholars Program. He serves as a member of the McCracken School Board. Harper is a professional race car driver on the International Hot Rod Association and National Hot Rod Association circuits. He developed a “Race for Education” program designed to improve attendance among middle school children — and it has. Every participating middle school reports that the number of children in attendance per day has increased from 5 percent to 50 percent. He also uses his race car as a teaching tool during engineering and career days at the Paducah campus. Harper has received many awards and honors, but his most cherished is the distinguished Eagle Award presented to him by the Boy Scouts of America. He lives in Paducah with his wife, Laura. They have four children — Holly, Melissa, Guy and Grant.

Campbellsville University, now celebrating her Centennial year, is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,310 students who represent 100 Kentucky counties, 32 states and 28 foreign nations. Listed in U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” 14 consecutive years as one of the leading Southern master’s colleges and universities, Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his eighth year as president.

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