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Former U.S. Rep. Carroll Hubbard of Western KY dies at 85; enjoyed political arena but rocked by scandal

By Jack Brammer
NKyTribune Reporter
Former U.S. Rep. Carroll Hubbard Jr. of Mayfield, who served in Congress from 1975 to 1993, ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1979 and encountered several scandals, died Saturday night at Parkview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Paducah. He was 85.

Hubbard, an attorney, “thoroughly enjoyed the political arena and in his early years was a very good congressman,” said former Gov. Julian Carroll.

“Then he desired for higher political office and had a rougher time after that. However, he always worked hard for his district and its people.”

Carroll Hubbard

Hubbard lost his 1992 re-election bid for Congress to Tom Barlow after he and several other representatives became embroiled in the House banking scandal dubbed “Rubbergate.”

Hubbard pleaded guilty to violations of federal campaign finance laws and was in prison from 1995 to 1997.

His then wife, Carol Brown Hubbard, was convicted of using his congressional aides to work on her failed campaign for Congress. She served five years of probation.

Hubbard later made bids for the Kentucky Senate and House without success. In recent years, he changed his political party registration from Democrat to Republican.

In 2020, the Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously accepted Hubbard’s motion to resign as an attorney under the terms of permanent disbarment.

The Courier Journal reported in February 2020 that Hubbard, whose license to practice law was suspended for 60 days for lying under oath when he denied calling an opposing lawyer and her wife “pitiful, fat, ugly lesbians,” had been practicing without a license.
The court said Hubbard could have been readmitted but failed to file a timely notice that he had complied with the terms of his suspension. The court also said he had failed to comply with continuing education requirements.
Hubbard was the subject of a new complaint in March 2020 for practicing a felony case while suspended and moved for disbarment rather than to contest the complaint.
The Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously accepted his motion to resign under the terms of permanent disbarment.
Hubbard was born July 7, 1937, in Paducah to Carroll Hubbard Sr., a Baptist minister, and Beth Hubbard, an elementary school teacher.

After spending several years in Beaver Dam and Ashland, Hubbard moved in 1953 to Louisville, where his father became pastor of St. Matthews Baptist Church. Hubbard graduated from Eastern High School in 1955.

At Georgetown College, Hubbard became editor-in-chief of the Georgetonian, the weekly college newspaper. After graduating from Georgetown College with a degree in sociology in 1959, Hubbard attended the University of Louisville Law School, where he received a full scholarship. While in law school, Hubbard became active in politics, serving as youth chairman for several statewide campaigns.

In July 1960, Hubbard was a member of the Kentucky state delegation at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, California, serving as an alternate delegate.
There, he witnessed the nomination of John F. Kennedy as the Democratic candidate for President of the United States. In January of 1961, Hubbard made his first trip to Washington, D.C., to attend President Kennedy’s inauguration.

After graduating from law school in 1962, Hubbard served in the Kentucky Air National Guard and moved to Mayfield, where he practiced law for several years.

In 1967, Hubbard defeated incumbent state Sen. George Brand, to be elected to the state Senate. At 30, Hubbard was the youngest member of the State Senate at that time. He continued to serve in the Kentucky State Senate until 1974.

In May 1974, Hubbard defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Frank Stubblefield in the Democratic primary election to represent Kentucky’s First District in the United States Congress. Hubbard won the general election in November 1974 and began serving in Congress in January 1975.

As one of 75 freshmen members of the 94th Congress, Hubbard was elected president of this large freshman class of new U.S. Representatives. He served the people of the First District of Kentucky for 18 years in Washington, D.C.

While in Congress, Hubbard was a member of the House Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee and House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee.

In addition to his office at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, Hubbard maintained district offices in Madisonville, Henderson, Hopkinsville and Paducah, Kentucky and traveled back to Kentucky from Washington nearly every weekend.

Correspondence with the district’s constituents also took up much Hubbard’s time during his days in Congress. In this era before e-mail and social media, Hubbard personally signed and sent literally hundreds of thousands of letters, newsletters, calendars and Christmas cards to the citizens of Western Kentucky.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Mayfield Graves County Tornado Relief Fund.

Visitation and funeral services will be held at Byrn Funeral Home in Mayfield at a date to be determined.

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