Louisville, Kentucky , United States
|| May 18, 1953
Apr 29, 2007 09:45pm
|Info||Eleanor Jordan was appointed in 2001 by Governor Paul Patton as the executive director of the Office of the Ombudsman for the Cabinet for Families and Children. Jordan?s office reviews and investigates complaints, oversees the Division of Program Integrity, and makes recommendations to the cabinet secretary on how to improve customer service. |
Prior to her service in the executive branch, Jordan served three terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives where she acquired a reputation as a strong advocate for the rights of women, children, the poor, and the disabled.
During her last term in office, Jordan ran for the US House of Representatives in Kentucky?s Third Congressional District against a well-funded incumbent. Jordan raised more than $1.7 million, engaged scores of volunteers, and attracted national attention. President Bill Clinton, Bill Bradley, Ann Richards and 35 members of Congress traveled to Louisville to endorse her.
Although she lost the general election, Jordan was encouraged by the number of campaign volunteers who had never voted or been involved in actively supporting a candidate. "So many people are turned off by politics," says Jordan. "but we were successful in communicating to scores of people that they do have a voice and they can make a difference if they become involved. That in itself is a win!"
She has been featured in Kentucky Women by Eugenia Potter, in Ms. and Black Journal magazines, and profiled by the British Broadcasting Company, MTV, and the Oxygen channel. Among her numerous awards and recognitions are: Business Women?s Advocate of the Year, the Martin Luther King Award, the Public Advocate?s Award, and the Outstanding Legislator Award. She also is a 1997 Henry Toll Fellow. She serves on the board of the Kentucky Commission on Women and is a member of both the Kentucky Commission on Elder Abuse and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators.
In December of 1999, with Kentucky Governor Paul Patton at her side, Eleanor Jordan announced her campaign for Congress in Kentucky's 3rd District, saying "I have built a reputation for listening to my constituency, understanding them and working hard to make sure that your voice is heard in Frankfort - and I will make sure the 3rd District voice is heard in Washington." Click here to see a list of Democrat Eleanor Jordan's supporters.
Eleanor Jordan understands the importance of finding solutions to the tough problems facing working families.
A lifelong native of Louisville, Eleanor can trace her commitment to community service back to a childhood visit to the state Capitol in Frankfort. Eleanor recalls looking down onto the floor of the General Assembly from the gallery and noticing that the representatives didn't look like her. Years later, Jordan returned to the Capitol city to speak out about the historic sites in her neighborhood, which deserved protection, and the picture was much the same. The people in Frankfort who were making the decisions about her family and her neighborhood had no understanding of the issues affecting her family, her community, and herself. That's when she decided that she wanted a seat at the decision-making table. Click here for Eleanor's story on this.
Eleanor's mother, Ruth Marion Allen, taught Eleanor that there was nothing she couldn't do just because she was a girl or black or poor. Eleanor took that lesson to heart and developed a lifelong personal commitment to breaking through barriers and helping others along the way.
While a student at Louisville's Central High School, Jordan became an unwed teen mother, and many predicted that her promising future was over. Click here for Eleanor's story on this. Jordan struggled to make a life for herself and her son. "These kinds of life experiences can do one of two things. . . they can defeat you as obstacles or you can turn them into stepping stones of strength and wisdom," says Eleanor. Because of that adversity, Eleanor understands better than most that government can - and should - provide a helping hand up to the working families.
Eleanor was a stay at home mother and wife before being asked by the Baptist Fellowship Center to lead a childcare program that was in financial and management trouble. After successfully turning that program around, she was hired as the Executive Director of the Iroquois Childcare Center where she fought to expand funding and increase the number of children served by the Center. Click here for Eleanor's story on this.
As Jordan's community involvement grew, she became known as an effective community leader and a forceful advocate for children. A leader on issues involving at risk youth and neighborhood preservation, Jordan decided that the way to earn a seat at the table was through elective office. She first ran for office in 1993, challenging a long-time incumbent alderman and losing by only 97 votes. She was praised as a skilled advocate for the community. City leaders were so encouraged by her potential, that then Mayor Jerry Abramson took the extraordinary step of refusing to endorse the incumbent in that race.
In 1996 Eleanor ran in a special election for the General Assembly. Eleanor won and went to Frankfort to take her place in that same chamber she had visited as a schoolgirl, becoming the only African-American woman currently serving in Kentucky's Legislature.
Only weeks after being sworn in, Eleanor's skills were tested on an issue where her expertise and commitment were clear. Eleanor was able to block an effort by special interests to gut Kentucky's Childcare Policy Council, by removing from the panel most of the child advocates. Eleanor fought that first battle on the floor of the Legislature, and she won. Since then, Eleanor has developed a reputation as an effective and outspoken advocate for women, working families, minorities, the poor and children. Click here for Eleanor's story on this.
Jordan is the divorced mother of three sons: Aaron (32), Alex (21), and Andrew (19).
She has been an active member of the Bates Memorial Baptist Church for over 20 years.