Politics & Government

Why Gov. Matt Bevin suddenly has a beard

Matt Bevin explains his beard

Gov. Matt Bevin is growing a beard.
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Gov. Matt Bevin is growing a beard.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is growing a beard.

For the first time in recent memory, Kentucky’s top elective leader is showing off more than a five o’clock shadow.

Bevin jokingly told reporters Wednesday after a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda that he decided that he’ll shave again “when I am no longer being sued by people in state government.”

“It could be pretty long here in 3 1/2 years,” he said.

Bevin has been sued by Attorney General Andy Beshear for his revamping of several boards, and House Speaker Greg Stumbo has sued the governor for his handling of vetoes in this year’s legislative session.

Bevin, 49, then said: “I just decided to give my face a break for a few days.”

The beard on the Republican governor is dark in the mustache and gray on the sides and chin.

The last Kentucky governor who was depicted with a full beard in his official portrait was Democrat Thomas E. Bramlette, who was in office from 1863 to 1867.

Democratic Gov. Preston H. Leslie, who led the state from 1871 through 1875, had a beard but no mustache. Democrat John Young Brown (1891 to 1895) had a goatee.

Democrat James D. Black, who was governor in 1919, was the last governor portrayed with facial hair. He had a mustache.

Jack Brammer: 502-227-1198, @BGPolitics