FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman underwent a double mastectomy on Monday after concerns were raised during a routine medical examination, her office announced. The Democrat said she expects to make a full recovery.
The surgery occurred less than a week after Coleman and Gov. Andy Beshear were sworn in for second terms, having run successfully as a ticket again in the Bluegrass State.
In a statement Monday, Coleman thanked her family for its loving support and said she would see Kentuckians again soon.
The surgery followed a routine physical exam recently, she said.
“With a significant family history of cancer, I made the decision to have a double mastectomy,” Coleman said. “I am happy to report that a successful surgery was performed today, and I expect to make a full recovery.”
Beshear said in a separate statement that Coleman is a friend and “critical part” of his administration.
“My family and Kentucky families are standing with her during this time,” the Democratic governor said.
Coleman, 41, was a fixture on the campaign trail throughout the hard-hitting campaign that featured Beshear and Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron at the top of the ticket. She debated her Republican rival for lieutenant governor in a televised debate late in the campaign. The Beshear-Coleman ticket won a convincing victory last month, even as every other statewide office was won by the GOP.
Coleman has already fielded questions about whether she will run for governor in 2027, politely brushing them aside. Beshear is term-limited from running for governor again in four years.
Coleman spent years as a teacher and school administrator before being tapped by Beshear as his running mate for their first successful run as a ticket in 2019. She’s been an ardent proponent of the governor’s education proposals, including his push for higher teacher pay and universal access to pre-K for all 4-year-old Kentuckians. Besides her role as a public education advocate, Coleman focused on rural economic development, adult learning and student mental health initiatives during her first term.
She participated in daylong inaugural events last week. In her speech that day, Coleman touted the importance of the Beshear administration’s education proposals, declaring: “From cradle to career, education is the key that unlocks doors for every Kentuckian.” Health care workers and educators served as grand marshals for the inaugural parade that day.
On Monday, Coleman was thanking her health-care providers for the care she’s received.
“As Kentucky’s highest elected teacher, it is only fitting that I leave you with a little homework: Schedule those preventative exams you’ve put off, hug your people a little tighter and be kind, because everyone is fighting a battle you may know nothing about,” she said.
Bruce Schreiner, The Associated Press