He graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College with an Bachelor of Arts, and earned his Master of Arts from the University of Missouri.
He served with the United States Army Reserve. While still in his first term, Speaker Richards was called upon to chair the House"s Education Committee. He later played an instrumental part in engineering Kentucky"s sweeping education reforms by chairing one of the committees that helped draft the Kentucky Education Reform Acting, and he has shown the same commitment in leadership roles in the Southern Legislative Conference"s Education Committee and the Legislative Advisory Council of the Southern Regional Education Board.
In 1987, Richards was chosen by his Democratic colleagues in the House to serve as their Majority Caucus Chairman, one of the body"s five leadership positions.
In 1995, Richards reached the culmination of his nearly two decades of legislative service and leadership by being chosen Speaker of the House. On January 6, 2009, Richards, the longest-serving speaker in Kentucky"s history, was defeated by Greg Stumbo for the position of Speaker of the House.
In 2012, his namesake school, Jody Richards Elementary was built in Bowling Green Kentucky. Richards for a second time sought the Democratic nomination for Governor of Kentucky in the 2007 election, with John Y. Brown, III, former Kentucky Secretary of State and son of former governor and Kentucky Fried Chicken magnate John Y. Brown, Junior., as his running mate.
Richards finished a distant fourth in the primary with just over 45,000 votes (13%), far behind the 142,000 votes (41%) garnered by nominee Steve Beshear.
In 2003 Richards ran for Governor of Kentucky on a slate with Tony Miller (Kentucky), losing in the Democratic primary to Ben Chandler and Charlie Owen.
President board directors Southern Kentucky Fair. Board directors Bowling Green Girls Club, United Way, Warren County (Kentucky) Drug Abuse Task Force. Member Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club.
Married Neva Richards. 1 child, Roger.