Andy Beshear becomes Ky.'s 63rd governor
Andy Beshear officially became Kentucky’s 63rd governor Tuesday after a public swearing in at the state Capitol in Frankfort.
Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman participated in several inaugural events, including a parade where school teachers served as grand marshal.
Teachers and public education were a key issue the Beshear/Coleman campaign ran their election on. It was also something they talked about at length during their speeches, as well as during the swearing-in ceremony.
“As lieutenant governor and secretary of education, I will build a better Kentucky for our families and our children,” Coleman said. “To right inequities and remedy social injustices. To bring people together, because the next generation should not have to be the adults in the room. We owe them so much, and that work begins today.”
“Kentucky faces a critical shortage of teachers,” Beshear said during his remarks. “And far too many work a second job just to make ends meet. Prioritizing our children also means prioritizing their teachers. If Kentucky is to compete nationally -- not to mention with our neighbors -- we need to pay our teachers a living wage.
"We will start by including a $2,000 across-the-board raise in the budget we submit to the legislature. If our public schools, especially those in struggling communities, are going to survive and thrive, we need to make sure they are adequately funded. That means looking at class size, providing technology and striving to give every child true opportunity. This is not a partisan issue. This is a Kentucky issue.”
Beshear said that promise also went for protecting the retirement and pensions for police, fire, and other public workers.
When it comes to health care, the governor says he will expand Medicaid and make medications more affordable.
“When Kentucky expanded Medicaid, it provided four hundred thousand more of our fellow Kentuckians access to affordable health care," Beshear said. "These are our brothers and sisters. We sit next to them in the stands on Friday and pray next to them in the pews on Sunday.
"After the expansion, these neighbors could go see a doctor without fear of bankruptcy. And the expansion ensured that nearly all of Kentucky’s children had real access to health care. I will honor and strengthen this commitment to our families.
"I will do everything in my power to ensure that Kentuckians with pre-existing conditions do not lose their coverage. And I will fight to lower the cost of prescription drugs and we’ll start with insulin.”
Beshear’s address also revealed his first two executive orders as governor. The first was done Tuesday morning where he reorganized the state Board of Education and appointed new members. Now, not even 24 hours into his term, the governor faces a lawsuit from removed board members.
He also confirmed an order he will sign Thursday that restores voting rights to more than 100,000 convicted criminals in Kentucky.
“They deserve to participate in our great democracy," Beshear said. "By taking this step, by restoring these voting rights, we declare that everyone in Kentucky counts. We all matter.”
Beshear ended his remarks by saying highlight economic growth plans, and saying he hopes to bring all Kentuckians together as “Team Kentucky.”
“Today is a day to celebrate our history, our democracy and our freedom. It is also a time to recommit to being a commonwealth for the common good. We’re all on Team Kentucky. Let’s prove to this country and to each other that we can get this right. I can’t wait to get started.”
Beshear and his father Steve, who served as governor from 2007-2015, became Kentucky’s first father and son pair to both serve as governor.