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Trailblazing former Ky. state rep. Kathy Hogancamp dead at 68

Lexington_Herald_Leader_Sun__Jan_8__1995_.jpg
Courtesy of the Lexington Herald-Leader
/
David Perry
Former Kentucky state representative Kathy Hogancamp heads to the Capitol in early January 1995, not long after her election. "Her van was late, so she wheeled herself," the original caption said. Hogancamp, of Paducah, was the first ever Republican elected to represent the Jackson Purchase District in the Kentucky House of Representatives. She died last week at age 68.

Former Kentucky State Representative Kathy Hogancamp, a trailblazing western Kentucky politician who represented far western Kentucky, died last week at the age of 68.

Hogancamp — elected in 1994 to represent Kentucky’s then-4th District — was the first ever Republican elected to represent the Jackson Purchase District in Frankfort.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Hogancamp moved to Paducah during her childhood. While attending Paducah Tilghman High School, she was involved in a car accident that left her paralyzed below the shoulders, but she didn’t let that slow her down. Hogancamp went on to graduate from Paducah Community College (now, West Kentucky Community and Technical College) and Murray State University with honors, earning degrees in English and in History before attending Southern Illinois University and achieving her Master’s degree in educational psychology and counseling.

Lexington_Herald_Leader_Sun__Jan_8__1995_ (1).jpg
Courtesy of the Lexington Herald-Leader
/
David Perry
Former Kentucky state representative Kathy Hogancamp sits in an ethics session with fellow members of the House in early 1995.

Hogancamp’s career in education led her to work as a program specialist for the Department of Education in Washington D.C. before moving back to western Kentucky.

At the time of her election, Hogancamp was heralded as the first Kentucky representative to be a wheelchair user, though she said she was "not going to play the role of crusader" for people with disabilities.

Former Democratic Kentucky State Representative Gerald Watkins grew up with Hogancamp in Paducah. Watkins says she was resilient and never let her disability stop her.

“She was the type of leader and lady you have to admire, respect and know that she had your best interest at heart – for the people of west Kentucky and the entire Commonwealth,” Watkins said.

A memorial service will be held for Hogancamp on Wednesday October 26 at the Milner & Orr Funeral Home in Paducah.

Mason Galemore is a Murray State student studying journalism. He was the editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper. Since then has explored different publication avenues such as broadcasting. He hopes to travel as a journalist documenting conflict zones and different cultures. He remembers watching the Arab Spring in 2011 via the news when he was a kid, which dawned in a new age of journalism grounded in social media. His favorite hobbies are hiking, photography, reading, writing and playing with his Australian Shepard, Izzy. He is originally from Charleston, Missouri.