Robert “Bob” Babbage, Secretary of State for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, 1992-96, was born July 8, 1951, in Lexington, Kentucky. He is the son of Robert Babbage and Judith (Johnson) Babbage. His grandfather, Keen Johnson, served as Governor of Kentucky from 1939 to 1943.
Babbage earned a BA from Eastern Kentucky University in 1973 in journalism and political science, a MA from the Lexington Theological Seminary, and a MA from the University of Kentucky Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce. He also completed the Senior Executive Program at Harvard University in 1988. He married Laura Schulte on June 9, 1979. They have two sons, Robert A. and Brian, and a daughter, Julie Lauren. In 1992, Babbage and his wife were co-recipients of the Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award given by the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Bluegrass Chapter, for their work in promoting equal employment opportunities. From 1984 to 1986, he was assistant to the president of the University of Kentucky, and from 1981 to 1987, he served on the Fayette Urban County Government Council as an at-large member.
In 1987, Babbage was elected to the post of State Auditor. One of his major objectives was to see that all audits of county government were at current-year status. He had achieved this goal by the end of his tenure as Auditor. In 1991, he was elected Secretary of State, taking office in 1992. As Secretary of State he advocated and implemented the national Motor Voter law in Kentucky, was active in starting limited liability corporations for Kentucky business, conducted the nation’s first online vote count in real time, and proposed one-step business licensing through the corporations filing office of the Office of Secretary of State. He managed the Election Day Task Force with the state attorney general and the FBI and with the attorney general named a task force on vote fraud reform legislation that was successfully implemented. He also founded and chaired Democracy, Inc., a voter registration and education foundation.
In 1995, Babbage finished second in a four-way race for the Democratic nomination for Governor. He was then named Democratic Party chair and C.E.O. During the mid-1990s, he worked as vice president of the U.S. Corrections Corporation and was a senior fellow at the Council of State Governments. President Clinton appointed him to the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice chaired by Attorney General Janet Reno and later by Attorney General John Ashcroft. Secretary of State Colin Powell named him to the Advisory Committee for Cultural Diplomacy. He is currently the national managing partner of Babbage Cofounder, a government relations and corporate business development firm. This firm assists companies to improve results in lobbying as well as communications and relationship management. Babbage is ranked in Kentucky’s “Top Ten Lobbyists” and was named one of the state’s “20 Most Influential” non-elected leaders by the Kentucky Gazette. He frequently offers political analysis for the media and is a weekly political analyst on talk radio. He is the author of "Meet You in the Lobby", scheduled for publication in October 2004.
Biographical sketch to 1992, provided by the Office of the Secretary of State.
Information supplied by Bob Babbage, July 2004.
Kentucky Birth Index, Vital Statistics.
Kentucky Marriage Index, Vital Statistics.
Campbellsville University, KHIPP Directors and Advisors
"Personal Choice or Deprivation of a Public Role? The Dearth of Women in Kentucky Politics" by Mary Hawkesworth