Honoring Mr. David Hawpe
HONORING MR. DAVID HAWPE
HON. BEN CHANDLER
in the house of representatives
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Mr. CHANDLER. Madam Speaker, I rise today in recognition of one of
Kentucky's premier journalists, a man who has shaped countless events
and policies in the Commonwealth of Kentucky for decades, Mr. David
Hawpe. After 40 years of public service journalism, tough reporting,
and insightful analysis as editorial director, he will retire on August
14, 2009. I cannot begin to adequately describe the immeasurable
contributions Mr. Hawpe has made to better the lives of all
After graduating from the University of Kentucky in 1965 with a focus
in journalism, Mr. Hawpe began his career as a reporter for the
Associated Press and then moved to the The St. Petersburg Times in
Florida, where he was an editorial writer.
In 1969, he came back to his home state and took charge of the Hazard
bureau of The Courier-Journal in Eastern Kentucky, and in 1972, he
moved to the Louisville home office. Mr. Hawpe held many positions,
including editorial writer, assistant regional editor, managing editor
and editor of The Courier-Journal and also served as city editor of the
former afternoon newspaper, The Louisville Times.
Through his decades of reporting, Mr. Hawpe's influence can be seen
in nearly every corner of the state.
He covered the Hyden mine disaster in 1970, bringing to light the
many hazards and realities of coal mining. In later years, he played a
significant role in strengthening laws and regulations governing the
mining industry, and attacked abuses related to the broad form deed and
Through his reporting and advocacy, he helped bring about new
regulations of toxic chemicals, improved school bus safety, better
enforcement of drunk driving laws, and reform in the medical license
Through his and his colleagues' legislative coverage, Mr. Hawpe and
his coworkers literally helped reshape the Kentucky General Assembly--
my home state's legislative body--into a more influential, co-equal
branch of state government. In conjunction with formidable
investigative reporting, Mr. Hawpe also played a critical role in the
momentum to rewrite Kentucky's campaign finance laws.
And also, very notably, Mr. Hawpe has been instrumental in the reform
of Kentucky's public education system. Through his direction of
relentless and informed reporting, he helped convince the public that
Kentucky was in need of meaningful, extensive higher education reform,
which paved the way for the 1997 Kentucky Higher Education Reform Act.
He has been credited by many, including a former governor and key
policy makers, with being the main force behind this historic
In light of these achievements, it should be no surprise the
newspaper won four Pulitzer prizes under his direction.
Mr. Hawpe is a member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame and has
long been a strong advocate for ethics and diversity initiatives. A
Nieman Fellow at Harvard, he was also prominent in national news
organizations, having served as president of the Associated Press
Managing Editors Association.
Through Mr. Hawpe's editorials and columns, he has been called ``the
voice and conscience of The Courier-Journal and, in my opinion, in
many ways, he has been the voice and conscience of reform and good
policy in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Over the years, he has held individuals and institutions accountable
for their actions, reined in unfair practices, and been an unwavering
advocate for the underprivileged. Mr. Hawpe will be sorely missed, but
the impact of his work will be felt in my state, and, indeed the
nation, for many years to come.
Madam Speaker, there is no doubt in my mind that he has made our
great state even better.