Secretary of State

Kenneth F. Harper

Term of OfficeFebruary 2, 1971 - January 1, 1972
Significant AccomplishmentsBy initiating the preservation of Kentucky's Land Grant records, Secretary Harper enabled historical documents to be accessed by researchers and, later, digitized for the World Wide Web.
Governor during his term of OfficeGov. Louie B. Nunn; Gov. Wendell Ford*
Assistant Secretary of StateLelia Feltner Begley
EducationKentucky Military Institute (Lyndon, Jefferson County, Kentucky); attended the University of Kentucky (Lexington, Fayette County)
Spouse(s)Eileen Kathman
Children4 Sons & 1 Daughter
ParentsKenneth W. and Elizabeth (Brickler) Harper
ResidenceKentucky (Crestview Hills, Kenton County)
OccupationReal Estate Broker
Birth Date1/15/1931
Birth PlaceKentucky (Covington, Kenton County)
Other State Offices HeldAssistant Commissioner for the Dept. of Child Welfare; Commissioner of Public Information; Kentucky State Representative: 1964-1968; 1982-1994; Board Member of the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance (2005-2009)
Military ServiceKorean War (Air Force)
Historical FirstsFirst to initiate the preservation of Kentucky's Land Grant records.

Kenneth F. Harper, Secretary of State for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, February 1971 to January 1972, was born in Covington, Kentucky, on January 15, 1931, the only child of Kenneth W. and Elizabeth (Brickler) Harper. Harper was educated at Kentucky Military Institute, from which he graduated in 1948; he attended the University of Kentucky. He served in the United States Air Force from 1951 to 1953, including duty in the Korean War. He is married to Eileen Kathman, and they are the parents of four boys and one girl.

Before entering public office, Harper was owner and president of Professional Business Service of Kentucky, Inc. A Republican, he was elected State Representative for the 63rd District and served from 1964 to 1968 and again from 1982 to 1994. In May 1968, he resigned from the Kentucky House of Representatives and became Assistant Commissioner for the Department of Child Welfare. He continued in that office until January 1970, when he became Commissioner of Public Information in Governor Louie B. Nunn's Office. In February 1971, Governor Nunn appointed him Secretary of State to finish the unexpired term of Elmer Begley, who had died in September 1970. (Begley’s widow, Leila, temporarily filled the position until Harper’s appointment.) One of the initiatives Harper undertook as Secretary of State was to begin preservation of Kentucky’s land grant records.

After leaving the Secretary of State’s office, Harper entered the real estate business, becoming the president of Harper Group LLC. He is retired and lives in Crestview Hills. He remains active in a variety of business and civic endeavors, including the Kenton County Republican Executive Committee, Northern Kentucky Association of Realtors, National Association of Realtors & the Northern Kentucky University Foundation (Chairman, 1997-2002).

On September 30, 2005, Secretary of State Trey Grayson named Harper his appointment to the Registry of Election Finance. Harper's four-year term began immediately upon appointment and will expire August 15, 2009.


Information supplied by Kenneth Harper, July 21, 2004;

September 30, 2005, Press Release, Kentucky Secretary of State's Website.