Kentucky will get a new governor on Tuesday. Kentucky Congressman James Comer, who ran for governor in 2015 and was defeated in the Republican primary by 83 votes, said he expects Democratic Governor-elect Andy Beshear to be popular in his first year in office. However, Comer says he will be watching to see how the lone statewide Democrat is able to work across the aisle and govern before deciding if he will run for governor again when Beshear is up for reelection in 2023.
Comer, who served in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 2001-2012 during two Democratic administrations while Republicans were in the minority, said Beshear will need to be successful in working across the aisle in order to accomplish any significant policy goals.
As for whether or not he will run for governor again in 2023, Comer said he is happy with his current role in Congress and while his heart is still in Kentucky, he believes it is necessary to wait and see how Beshear governs in the coming years before making that decision.
“I think he is going to have an opportunity right off the bat to be popular in the first year because, honestly, Bevin was never popular,” Comer said. “Andy Beshear will be a nice guy; he will be transparent with the media…so I predict Beshear will be popular the first year he’s in office. But eventually, the economy will not be as strong as it is now…and we will see what type of policy solutions he has to move Kentucky forward.”
Comer highlighted huge issues the state faces including the woefully underfunded pension systems and other policies that put Kentucky at a competitive disadvantage compared to surrounding states. He stated Bevin’s agenda was the right path to move the state forward over the last four years and that he will be watching to see how Beshear works with the legislature and what the new governor is able to accomplish.
On the federal level, Comer said the uncertainty caused by lack of action on trade agreements must be addressed as it is negatively impacting Kentucky businesses. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is still awaiting action in the U.S. House. Comer stated not passing the agreement would significantly disrupt the supply chain for a lot of manufacturers and other industries in Kentucky. He added he believes a vote could be taken on the issue before the holidays and is confident it would easily pass through the House.
Trade discussions with China are another area where Comer would like to see action taken. The Kentucky congressman stated he feels the impeachment inquiries and lack of action on USMCA have been an unfortunate distraction and caused America to lose some ground in these trade talks. Comer is optimistic there will be a deal made but doubts it will happen before the November 2020 elections.
Watch the full interview with Congressman Comer to hear his thoughts on workforce development, new federal funds coming into Paducah, and more here: