Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman said she expects to make a full recovery after undergoing a double mastectomy on Monday, Dec. 18.
Coleman explained her reasons for the surgery in a statement.
“Concerns were raised to me during a recent routine physical exam,” Coleman said. “With a significant family history of cancer, I made the decision to have a double mastectomy. I am happy to report that a successful surgery was performed today, and I expect to make a full recovery.”
Coleman reminded her fellow Kentuckians of the value of medical screening.
“As Kentucky’s highest elected teacher, it is only fitting that I leave you with a little homework: Schedule those preventative exams you’ve put off, hug your people a little tighter and be kind,” she said, “because everyone is fighting a battle you may know nothing about.”
Coleman and her husband, Chris O’Bryan, have four children. Coleman was sworn in for her second term as lieutenant governor last week. Coleman has advocated for education policy and educators as a politician, teacher and coach. She was the second teacher elected to the office of lt. governor of Kentucky after Martha Layne Collins, who went on to become the 56th and first woman governor serving from 1983–1987, was the first teacher elected lieutenant governor in 1979.
“Mercer County is proud to have one of our own elected, not once, but two times as lieutenant governor,” said Judge-Executive Sarah Steele. “I am certain Lt. Governor Coleman will work hard for our state. I wish her the best in her upcoming term.”
“As Mercer Countians, we should all be proud that our Lieutenant Governor is one of us,” said Harrodsburg Mayor Bob Williams. “I wish her all the best in her second term and look forward to working with her in furthering the progress and prosperity of Mercer County.”
A graduate of Mercer County High School, Coleman is a graduate of Centre College and the University of Louisville. She was a star athlete at the high school and college levels. Before being elected to office, she served as the assistant principal at Nelson County High School. Coleman also taught at Burgin and East Jessamine high schools.
Coleman, a fifth-generation native of Mercer County, is the second lt. governor elected from Mercer County since Gabriel Slaughter, who was elected more than 200 years ago.
She is the first Mercer County resident elected to statewide office since Clell Coleman, her great-great-grandfather, who served as commissioner of agriculture from 1923–1927 and as state auditor from 1927–1931. Her father, Jack Coleman, served as a state representative in the 55th District from 1991 to 2004 as well as a Harrodsburg city commissioner from 2012 to 2020. Her grandfather, Jack Coleman Sr., played basketball at the University of Louisville and nine seasons in the NBA (1949-58) with the Rochester Royals. The gym at Burgin Independent School is named after him.
Gov. Andy Beshear expressed his support for Coleman.
“Britainy and I fully expect the Lieutenant Governor to make a full recovery,” Beshear said in a statement released by his office. “She is our friend and a critical part of Team Kentucky. My family and Kentucky families are standing with her during this time. I join the Lieutenant Governor in encouraging Kentuckians to be proactive about their health and to schedule preventative exams.”
In her statement, Coleman thanked the medical staff.
“I want to thank the health-care heroes for the compassionate care I continue to receive,” Coleman said. “I am more appreciative than I can articulate for your expertise and your kindness through this process.”
“Serving as Kentucky’s Lieutenant Governor is the honor of my life,” Coleman said. “I am eternally grateful for my loving and supportive family who makes that possible, a compassionate friend in Gov. Beshear and a top-notch staff.
“I will see you soon, Team Kentucky,” Coleman said.