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Democratic AG nominee, a retired Air Force attorney, isn't licensed to practice law in Kentucky

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Pamela Stevenson
Democratic state Rep. Pamela Stevenson has served in the Kentucky legislature since 2021.

Pamela Stevenson spent nearly three decades as a litigator in the U.S. Air Force. But since her retirement, the Louisville native has practiced in Clarksville, Indiana, where she’s been licensed since 1984.

Kentucky’s Democratic nominee for attorney general isn’t licensed to practice law in Kentucky.

Pamela Stevenson spent nearly three decades as a litigator in the U.S. Air Force, according to her campaign website. But since her retirement, the Louisville native has practiced in Clarksville, Indiana, where she’s been licensed since 1984. The Indiana Bar Association shows Stevenson is in good standing.

Her campaign said Stevenson recently passed a required test and she’s on track to be admitted by the Kentucky Bar Association in August.

The Republican Party of Kentucky issued a statement calling Stevenson the most unqualified candidate to ever run for Kentucky attorney general.

“Pamela Stevenson is running around Kentucky saying she will be the ‘People’s Lawyer.’ She left out the ‘people’ she’s talking about will have to live in Indiana," RPK Communications Director Sean Southard said in a statement. “Her campaign is deceiving voters and making a mockery of Kentucky’s legal system."

Stevenson's campaign pushed back in a statement from Communications Director Beth Thorpe.

"Col. Stevenson, who practiced law in the Air Force for 27 years, and has 39 years of practicing law in total is extremely qualified to be Kentucky’s next AG. It’s pretty ironic that Kentucky Republican operatives have been pushing this story when Daniel Cameron had almost zero experience before he became AG. As we like to say – that dog won’t hunt.”

Joshua Douglas, a professor of election law at the University of Kentucky, said being licensed in Kentucky isn't a requirement to run for attorney general. The state Constitution requires the AG to only be a practicing lawyer for eight years before being elected.

"The courts have generally read "practicing lawyer" fairly broadly to encompass lots of activities where a law license is not a requirement, such as Daniel Cameron's time clerking for a federal judge," Douglas said in an email to WKU Public Radio.

Stevenson is a state representative from Louisville who faces Republican and former U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman in the November election. Coleman, who now practices at a Louisville law firm, has been a member of the Kentucky bar since 2004.
Copyright 2023 WKU Public Radio. To see more, visit WKU Public Radio.

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