Babbage Cofounder represents clients and causes on a broad range of public decisions. The company's successes on the state level include landmark legislation in health care, especially diabetes and chronic health concerns, as well as issues relating to community colleges, manufacturing, energy, bourbon and distilled beverages, financial services, health insurance, technology and biotechnology, aviation, transportation and the Kentucky state budget.
On the federal level Babbage lobbied for the passage of the PNTR trade modernization with China and the $10.1 billion feature for agriculture in the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. Both successes have had local as well as global impact.
Babbage served as Kentucky State Auditor (1988-1992) and Kentucky Secretary of State (1992-1996).
Robert Alexander Babbage is the son of Robert and Judith Johnson Babbage and grandson of Kentucky Governor Keen Johnson (1939-1943). He has one brother, Dr. Keen J. Babbage, an educator, administrator and author of numerous books on innovative approaches to teaching and school management.
He is a native of Lexington, Kentucky and graduate of Henry Clay High School. As a student of public elementary and secondary schools in Lexington, Babbage was active in leadership roles in student council and various youth organizations.
After graduating from Eastern Kentucky University, where he was the student representative to the Board of Regents, Babbage was assistant to the mayor of Lexington, Kentucky (1975-1976) and administrative assistant to Kentucky Governor Julian Carroll (1976-1979). Shortly thereafter he launched a successful career in financial management and insurance.
From 1984 to 1986 he was assistant to University of Kentucky President Otis Singletary. While working for the university, he led the fund raising effort to establish the Gluck Equine Research Center, working as its foundation director with major worldwide figures in Kentucky's storied horse industry.
Babbage combined his professional work with an active interest in community service working with his wife Laura Schulte Babbage on a number of projects. The Babbages are co-recipients of the Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award given by the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Bluegrass Chapter, for their work in promoting racial and religious understanding.
Bob was instrumental in bringing the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Conference to Kentucky and creating the Lexington Dream Factory, each program recognized for ongoing excellence.
Babbage teamed with Kentucky Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer Dave Adkisson to grow Leadership Kentucky into a highly successful and often copied program. Babbage is also a co-founder of the successful Lexington Forum and is recognized for helping originate the Louisville Forum.
Babbage earned his BA from Eastern Kentucky University in 1973 majoring in journalism and political science. He was elected student member of the University Board of Regents and was later selected as editor of The Eastern Progress, the college newspaper.
He holds an MA from the University of Kentucky Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and an MA from Lexington Theological Seminary.
In 1988 he completed the Senior Executive Program at Harvard University.
He received an honorary Doctorate in Public Administration from Campbellsville University in 1993.
Babbage was first elected to public office in 1981 as Council Member At-Large to the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. At that time, he was the youngest person ever elected to an at-large seat on the Council. As a member of the Council from 1981 to 1987, Babbage was instrumental in developing Lexington's first-ever 911 emergency communications system.
He also served as Budget Chairman and started Lexington's Senior Interns Program.
In 1987, Babbage successfully ran for Kentucky State Auditor serving from 1988 to 1992. Prevented from seeking a second term by state law which at that time prohibited constitutional officers from succeeding themselves, he subsequently sought the office of Kentucky Secretary of State serving from 1992 to 1996.
During his tenure as auditor, Kentucky voters amended the state constitution to remove the restriction on lotteries which led to the establishment of the Kentucky Lottery Commission. Babbage established guidelines and procedures for routine audits of the Lottery. In 2014 the Kentucky Lottery had total sales of $858.8 million and provided $276.1 million in revenue to the state budget.
Also as State Auditor, Babbage ensured that all audits of county governments were at current-year-status, many having been far behind. Twice during his tenure as State Auditor, he was awarded the Governor's Affirmative Action Achievement Award for successfully recruiting minorities in state government.
As Secretary of State Babbage championed a "motor-voter law" that simplified the process for registering voters and maintaining registrations, was active in starting limited liability corporations for Kentucky business and conducted the nation's first online vote count in real time. He also proposed One-Stop business licensing through the Corporations Filing Office of the Office of Secretary of State, an innovation considered to be years ahead of its time and now a reality in Kentucky.
He managed the Election Day Task Force with the state attorney general and the FBI. Babbage and the attorney general named a task force on vote fraud reform that proposed legislation that was successfully passed and implemented. He also founded and chaired Democracy, Inc., a voter registration and education foundation.
Babbage contested and lost a close primary race for Governor of Kentucky in 1995. Babbage's signature campaign proposal to establish a pool of funds to provide college tuition scholarships to all high school students graduating with above average grades and attending Kentucky colleges was later implemented by the state. Following the election, he was named state chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party by Governor Paul E. Patton.
Babbage was the working chair in 2000 of the bi-partisan committee to pass a constitutional amendment for annual sessions of the Kentucky General Assembly. The committee was chaired by the Republican Senate President and Democrat Speaker of the House. After previously failing three times over Kentucky's history, the amendment to establish a short session of the legislature in odd-numbered years passed 52.33% to 47.67%.
Following tenures as Kentucky State Auditor and Kentucky Secretary of State, Babbage was vice president of the U.S. Corrections Corporation and a senior fellow at the Council of State Governments during the mid-1990s.
During that time, President Bill Clinton appointed him to the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice chaired by Attorney General Janet Reno and later by Attorney General John Ashcroft.
U. S. Secretary of State Colin Powell later named him to the Advisory Committee for Cultural Diplomacy.
In 1995 he re-branded InterSouth, Inc., formed in 1994, as Babbage Cofounder.
Babbage is the leading lobbyist of Babbage Cofounder, a government relations and corporate strategies development firm. This firm assists companies wanting to improve results in lobbying as well as communications and relationship management.
"Cofounder" in the firm name is derived from the various civic initiatives in which Babbage has been involved, milestones achieved in government under his leadership, and as an innovator and advocate for clients and causes toward the advancement of their goals.
Babbage Cofounder helps companies and associations improve results in all aspects of lobbying, communications, business strategy, government relationship management and issues advocacy. The company concentrates on executive, agency, legislative, appropriations and public contract decisions in broad areas of concern including finance, education, manufacturing, energy, insurance, technology, transportation and health care and chronic diseases, especially issues relating to diabetes and solutions on impacting the diabetes epidemic.
Babbage initiated the idea of organizing a visit by Kentucky leaders to Washington, D.C. for meetings with the state's Congressional delegation and others in the nation's capital. Kentucky's "Washington Fly-In" has become a highly successful annual event.
Through branding strategies, public sector positioning and alliance building, Babbage Cofounder helps companies, associations and critical causes to persuade elected and appointed leaders to take strong stands and make good decisions for sensible, positive outcomes.
Babbage has been recognized as a "top Frankfort lobbyist" for the past ten years based on public records by numerous sources including the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Louisville Courier-Journal, Kentucky Roll Call, Kentucky Gazette, Business First of Louisville and The Huffington Post.
He is consistently ranked in Kentucky's "Top Ten Lobbyists" and has been named one of the state's "20 Most Influential" non-elected leaders by the Kentucky Gazette. In 2011 The Lane Report, a leading Kentucky business magazine, listed him as one of the "Top 40 Kentucky leaders".