October 4, 2015

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Race for Governor: Bruce Lunsford

Bruce Lunsford grew up on a tobacco farm in northern Kentucky, where he learned about hard work and community. A product of the Kenton County public schools, Bruce excelled academically and in athletics, lettering on both the basketball and baseball teams.

After graduating from Simon Kenton High School, Bruce entered the University of Kentucky in 1965, paying his way through school by working on his family’s farm and other farms in the area. Bruce, who majored in political science and minored in accounting, obtained his degree from U.K. in 1969. After graduating, he began working for the accounting firm of Alexander Grant and Company in Cincinnati. During this period, not only did he complete the training necessary to become a C.P.A. (he was certified in 1970), but he also entered the Ohio National Guard. He later transferred to the Fort Thomas U.S. Army Reserves, where he was a member for 5 1/2 years. While working full-time in accounting, Bruce entered the Salmon P. Chase College of Law and in 1974 earned his law degree. He then began practicing law at the firm of Keating, Muething and Klekamp, spending nearly five years there.

In 1980, Bruce was tapped by Governor Brown to serve as Kentucky’s Commerce Secretary. At a time of severe economic recession, Bruce helped create more than 60,000 new jobs and $1.5 billion in new investments. Under Bruce’s leadership, UPS and Delta Airlines located major hubs in the state, and Kentucky’s first Asian office was opened in Tokyo helping lay the groundwork for the Toyota plant in Georgetown.

After leaving state government, Bruce joined the law firm of Greenebaum, Doll, & McDonald in Lexington. Shortly thereafter, he began exploring a career in business. In 1984, Bruce began his career as an entrepreneur by forming Vencare, Inc. and initiating operations with the purchase of one small rural hospital in Indiana. Vencare grew from a small company with three employees to one employing more than 50,000 people throughout the country, taking on a new corporate name, Vencor, along the way. In 1996, Vencor became a Fortune 500 company.

After experiencing thirteen years of growth and success, Vencor, like every other company in the long-term health care industry, was challenged by an unprecedented change in federal funding of health care services. In 1997, Congress attempted to balance the federal budget on the backs of Medicaid recipients, putting the entire long-term care industry in jeopardy. Bruce took on these tough challenges and fought to protect the patients being served and the thousands of jobs Vencor had created. Despite the difficult business conditions it faced, Vencor, now reorganized into three independent companies (Ventas, Atria, and Kindred Healthcare), remains a nationally recognized health care leader and one of Kentucky’s largest employers.

On a more personal note, Bruce is an individual of great energy and varied interests. He is an accomplished thoroughbred owner and breeder, and has served on many corporate, civic, and charitable boards, including the boards of Churchill Downs, Inc., National City Corporation, The University of Kentucky, Bellarmine University, and Centre College. He has also ventured successfully into the entertainment business with investments in regional theme parks, such as Kentucky Kingdom, and Themeparks, L.L.C., a company that specializes in developing and operating theme parks. As Chairman and President of Citation Capital, L.L.C., he invests in small, growth-oriented companies.

Bruce has three daughters, Amy, Cindy, and Brandy, and two grandchildren, Isabella and Liam.

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201 Thierman Lane
Louisville, Kentucky 40207
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