KENTUCKY — State Rep. John "Bam" Carney has died at the age of 51. Carney's family announced his passing on Facebook, and a subsequent outpouring of kind words and condolences from Kentucky lawmakers from both parties followed.
Carney passed away around 7 a.m. Saturday in Lexington. The former House Majority Leader battled health problems over the years and was admitted to the ICU in late 2019 for pancreatitis.
Serving as the House Education Chair, Carney was a co-sponsor of the School Safety and Resiliency Act.
On behalf of the House Majority Caucus, Speaker David Osborne heralded Carney as a "passionate educator, an outstanding legislator, and a tremendous leader" for Kentucky.
“For more than a year and a half Bam fought valiantly to overcome his health issues, all while remaining steadfastly dedicated to the people of his district. While there is great comfort in knowing he is free from the constant pain and struggle, we pray his sons, his mother, and his entire family find comfort in knowing so many join them in mourning the legacy of a good man," Osborne said.
Kentucky's House Democratic Caucus leaders said in a statement that Carney was a good friend and an "outstanding public servant."
“We deeply mourn the passing of state Representative Bam Carney, a good friend we were proud to serve with in the Kentucky House, and pray for his family during this difficult time. For more than a year and a half, he fought his illness with the same level of determination and dignity that he brought to his work as a legislator and as a legislative leader. He was an outstanding public servant who truly believed that, whatever our differences, we are united as Kentuckians. He will be missed, but his life and legacy will never be forgotten," the joint statement read.
Condolences flooded Twitter Saturday morning, with statements coming from those including Gov. Andy Beshear, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, Secretary of State Michael Adams and State Auditor Mike Harmon.
Britainy and I are sad to learn of the passing of Rep. Bam Carney. Our sympathy and prayers go out to his family and friends. ^AB— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) July 17, 2021
I am saddened to hear of the passing of Rep. Bam Carney. My prayers, as well as those from Team Kentucky, are with his family, friends and community. ^JC— Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman (@LtGovColeman) July 17, 2021
We’re saddened this morning to learn of the loss of Rep. Bam Carney. He was a powerful voice for his district and his values, while soft-spoken and kind. Our prayers for him these past 18 months now go to his family who cared for him so devotedly.— KY SOS Michael Adams (@KYSecState) July 17, 2021
Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell also honored Carney in a statement, sharing his heartfelt condolences from himself and his wife, Elaine Chao.
"Throughout his tenure, Bam took on tough issues and fought for Kentucky’s most vulnerable students, using his expertise as an educator and coach to change the Commonwealth for the better. During his long illness, he continued to serve in a different way by becoming an inspiration to others who face hardships. The people of Kentucky are profoundly thankful for his advocacy and work," McConnell said in a statement. “From the statehouse, to the classroom, to the United States Senate, Kentuckians are deeply saddened by this loss. Elaine and I share our heartfelt condolences with Bam’s family, colleagues, and friends.”