"To be a true Kentuckian requires--
A good heart and generous spirit,
A deep love of the land and community,
A natural devotion to friendship and faith,
A proud and unshakable sense of home,
A full appreciation of the beauty and inscrutableness of family,
And a profound sense of humor for politics."
John Y. Brown III, Secretary of State for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, 1996-2004, was born June 2, 1963, in Louisville, Kentucky. His father is John Y. Brown Jr. and his mother is Eleanor (Durall) Brown Moore. He has two sisters, Sandy Steier and Eleanor Talley; one half-brother, Lincoln Brown; and one half-sister, Pamela Brown. Brown’s family has a long heritage in Democratic politics. His father served as Kentucky Governor from 1979 to 1983. His grandfather, John Y. Brown Sr., was a U.S. congressman during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency and a five-term member of the Kentucky House of Representatives.
Brown graduated from Kentucky’s public school system. He is a graduate of Bellarmine College with a BA (magna cum laude) and MBA and the University of Kentucky College of Law (with distinction). In 1991, he married Rebecca J. Brown, an Oldham County native. They have a son and a daughter.
Before entering politics, Brown worked as director of franchising for Roasters Corporation and as a summer associate for the law firms of Brown, Todd & Heyburn and Stoll, Keenon & Park. In 1995, he won election as Secretary of State by a margin of 14 percent. He was reelected in 1999, serving from 1996 to 2004.
As Secretary of State, Brown modernized the Secretary of State’s Office and improved efficiency. He emphasized programs to help small businesses in the state and to increase access to public information, especially through the creation of online databases. Among those created were: the One Stop Business Licensing service for entrepreneurs (which was nationally recognized as a Best Practice for Helping Small Businesses by the National Governor’s Association); the Kentucky UCC database which provides financial institutions with important credit information; the Kentucky Cities database which identifies city filings received by the Secretary of State’s Office; an online Election Night Tally System providing real-time election results and on online history of Kentucky’s election results; and the Revolutionary War Warrants database (complete with scanned images of numerous historical documents) which is utilized by genealogists, historians, surveyors, attorneys and students.
In recognition of his contribution to historical and genealogical research, the Kentucky Genealogical Society presented Brown the first “Distinguished Service by a Government Official” award in 2003.
As chairman of the State Board of Elections, he succeeded in obtaining a regulation that allows Kentuckians to register to vote over the Internet. He developed a program to combat voter fraud, worked with numerous civic groups to promote youth voting, and impartially oversaw the administration of Kentucky elections.
Brown was very active in NASS (National Association of Secretaries of State), twice serving as national chair of the Elections Committee, the Business Licensing Committee, and served as Secretary and Vice-President of the Southern Region. He served on the National Elections Standards Task Force which advised Congress on election reform after the 2000 presidential election. He chaired Kentucky’s Committee for the HAVA (Help America Vote Act) and oversaw early implementation of HAVA in Kentucky, which provided millions of federal dollars to Kentucky for election reform.
Brown is currently vice president of special projects for ResCare. He resides in Louisville.
Democratic Headquarters, Frankfort, Ky., campaign biographical sketch.
Information supplied by John Y. Brown III, July 21, 2004.