Former Republican state Sen. Joe Bowen, of Owensboro, has died, according to friends and lawmakers in Frankfort.
Bowen served in the Senate representing the 8th Senate District from 2011 to 2018, he also served a single term in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 2005 to 2006. He did not seek re-election in 2018.
He was in the middle of many legislative fights including the pension reforms as the co-chair of the Public Pension Oversight Board and Chairman of the Senate State and Local Government Committee.
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called Bowen a consummate public servant in a statement released on Tuesday.
“I am sad to learn of the passing of former Kentucky State Senator Joe Bowen, a premier statesman, philanthropist, and small business owner,” McConnell said. “After a term in the Kentucky House of Representatives, Joe served in our State Senate for eight years, rising to the top of two committees focused on reforming the organization of our state and local governments to ensure they served Kentuckians more efficiently. He was a consummate public servant before, during, and after his time in office, serving as chairman of the Owensboro YMCA and the Kentucky State Parks Foundation and as a member of the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees. Joe was a good friend who will be missed by all those he touched during his life and career.
“I was proud to work alongside Joe to improve the Commonwealth,” McConnell continued. “As the owner of a family business, he had an innate understanding of the needs of Kentucky employers and workers and wielded that knowledge to foster development around our state. Elaine and I send our deepest condolences to Joe’s wife Vicki, his children Adam and Joy, and his five grandchildren, and will hold the entire Bowen family in our prayers.”