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Martha Layne Collins (born December 7, 1936 in Bagdad, Kentuckymarker) was Governor of the U.S. State of Kentuckymarker from 1983 through 1987; she is a member of the Democratic Party. She was Kentucky's first and only female governor to date.

After graduating from the University of Kentuckymarker, Collins began her professional career as a school teacher in the public schools of Louisvillemarker and Woodford Countymarker. Collins worked in various Democratic campaigns. Her first elected office was that of Clerk of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, where she served from 1975 through 1979. She was elected Lieutenant Governor for the state in 1979 and served in that office until she was elected Governor four years later. She defeated Jim Bunning by 561,674 (54.6%)to 454,650 (44.2%). Collins was the first and to date only woman to be elected Governor of Kentucky. She served as Governor from 1983 through 1987.

While governor, Collins was chairperson of the 1984 Democratic National Convention.. During her term in office, some important educational reforms were enacted. Collins successfully sought state incentives for Toyota to locate its manufacturing plant in Georgetown, Kentuckymarker; those incentives were controversial at the time but Toyota has been an important employer and source of numerous other businesses and jobs created in Kentucky since then.

Collins' husband, Dr. Bill Collins, was the cause of an influence-peddling scandal while she was in office. Dr. Collins was convicted of extorting nearly $1.7 million in connection with his wife's 1983 gubernatorial campaign. According to an Oct. 15, 1993 story in the Louisville Courier-Journal, the conviction deeply stained "the legacy of Martha Layne Collins" and shattered any hope that she had for a political comeback.

After her service as governor Collins was president of Saint Catharine College for six years and held various positions in residence at other colleges and universities in Kentucky. She is currently Executive Scholar in Residence at Georgetown College. She has not run for office after her service as governor, though her son, Stephen Louis Collins, ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor of Kentucky in 1991.Collins is currently on the Board of Directors of Eastman Kodak. She is currently Chairwoman of the Kentucky World Trade Center.



  1. Dr. Bill Collins convicted of extortion, tax fraud, The Courier-Journal, October 15, 1993
  2. Lieutentant Governor Primary Election, May 28, 1991
  3. About KWTC on official website
  4. Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "2009 Autumn Conferment of Decorations on Foreign Nationals," p. 2.

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