Martha Layne Collins

Martha Layne Collins

Businesswoman and Politician
Born Dec 7, 1936

Martha Layne Collins is a businesswoman and politician from the U.S. state of Kentucky who served as the state's 56th governor from 1983 to 1987. Prior to her election as governor, she was the 48th Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky, serving under John Y. Brown, Jr. As of 2012, she is the only woman to have served as governor of Kentucky. Her election made her the highest-ranking Democratic woman in the U.S.… Read More

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1936 Birth Born on December 7, 1936.


1954 17 Years Old Martha attended Shelbyville High School where she was a good student and a cheerleader. She frequently competed in beauty pageants and won the title of Shelby County Tobacco Festival Queen in 1954. … Read More


1957 20 Years Old In 1957, Hall met Billy Louis Collins while attending a Baptist camp in Shelby County. … Read More
1966 29 Years Old In 1966, the Collinses moved to Versailles, Kentucky, where Martha taught at Woodford County Junior High School. … Read More


1971 34 Years Old By 1971, Collins was the president of the Jayceettes; through her work there, she came to the attention of Democratic state senator Walter "Dee" Huddleston. … Read More
1972 35 Years Old She quit her teaching job and went to work full-time at the state Democratic Party headquarters, as secretary of the state Democratic party and as a delegate to the 1972 Democratic National Convention. … Read More
1975 38 Years Old 1 More Event
…  In 1975, she was chosen secretary of the state's Democratic Party and was elected clerk of the Kentucky Court of Appeals. … Read More
1976 39 Years Old The Woodford County chapter of Business and Professional Women chose Collins as its 1976 Woman of Achievement, and in 1977, Governor Julian Carroll named her Kentucky Executive Director of the Friendship Force.


1979 42 Years Old 1 More Event
Collins was elected lieutenant governor in 1979, under Governor John Y. Brown, Jr. Brown was frequently out of the state, leaving Collins as acting governor for more than 500 days of her four-year term. … Read More
1982 45 Years Old In 1982, she was named to the board of regents of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville.
1983 46 Years Old Nearing the end of her term as lieutenant governor, Collins announced her intent to run for governor in 1983. … Read More
1984 47 Years Old 1 More Event
…  After opposition to her proposal developed among legislators during the 1984 biennial legislative session, Collins revised the tax package. … Read More
In January 1985, Collins renewed her push for additional education funding and changes by appointing herself secretary of the state Education and Humanities Cabinet. … Read More


1987 50 Years Old Collins' term expired on December 8, 1987, and under the restrictions then present in the Kentucky Constitution, she was ineligible for consecutive terms.
1988 51 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1988, she accepted a position as "executive in residence" at the University of Louisville, giving guest lectures to students in the university's business classes. … Read More
1989 52 Years Old Concurrent with her position at Harvard, Collins was named to the board of regents for Midway College in 1989; the following year, she was removed from the board of regents of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. … Read More
1990 53 Years Old 1 More Event
At the time, Kentucky governors were not eligible for reelection. Collins taught at several universities after her four-year term as governor. From 1990 to 1996, she was the president of Saint Catharine College near Springfield, Kentucky.
1993 56 Years Old 1 More Event
The 1993 conviction of Collins' husband, Dr. Bill Collins, in an influence-peddling scandal, damaged her hopes for a return to political life. … Read More


1998 - 2003 4 More Events
2005 68 Years Old In January 2005, she became the chairwoman and chief executive officer of the Kentucky World Trade Center.
2009 72 Years Old In 2009, she was inducted into the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for her contributions "to strengthening economic and cultural exchanges between Japan and the United States of America".
2010 73 Years Old Martha Layne Collins High School in Shelby County was named in her honor and opened in 2010.
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