At an exclusive Public Affairs Forum for top Kentucky Chamber members, Gov. Andy Beshear told business leaders the state is experiencing an “economy on fire” with new job announcements coming out of the pandemic but there is important work to do to ensure economic recovery and growth.
Beshear began his address by noting the critical role played by the business community throughout the pandemic to keep Kentuckians safe and supply the state with medical supplies, as well as playing a role in vaccine creation and distribution.
He said Kentucky has lost 7,200 citizens to COVID-19 and pointed to the new Delta variant and increase in positive cases as cause for concern as we work to ensure people are safe and the economy can continue to recover.
“Anyone who is going to get vaccinated because I asked them to already has,” Beshear joked, asking businesses to help encourage Kentuckians to get vaccinated and thanking them for their work in providing incentives and other innovative efforts.
The governor said as the state works to address this new variant, Kentucky’s economy is “roaring back” thanks to the work of businesses over the last year and added that last week alone, the state announced 1,100 new jobs with GE, Fidelity, and teased a big announcement coming Thursday out of western Kentucky.
“Kentucky has risen to the occasion and we have a chance now to transform everything we are to ensure we are never a fly over state again,” Beshear said. “Right now is our chance and there’s never been a bigger one. But with historic moments comes great responsibility.”
To achieve this growth and transformation, it will require all areas of the state are involved, especially communities that have not seen investment in far too long, Beshear told the audience.
A crucial part of this plan, he said, is increased infrastructure investment.
“I don’t care how it polls. We need it and it must be done. I would sign the bill today.” Beshear said.
He added a federal infrastructure bill currently being debated in Congress is also critically important for projects like the Brent Spence Bridge in northern Kentucky.
Beshear ended his remarks with the sentiment that to achieve these things, issues must not be seen as red or blue and everyone from all parties must work together to achieve continued success.