Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear began his third State of the Commonwealth address noting the many struggles faced by the state in recent years including the tragic losses of 12,000 Kentuckians to COVID-19 and 77 to the devastating tornados in December. He said all of America has now seen exactly who Kentuckians are and added “even through the trials and the pain, the state of the Commonwealth is strong because we are strong.”
The governor said he is working with Kentucky lawmakers on emergency legislation to supply $150 million to help rebuild in the counties impacted by the tornadoes, $50 million to schools to help with recovery, and additional tools to show “we will stand with these families, we will. I am with you, the General Assembly is with you, the Commonwealth of Kentucky is with you.”
The difficulties of our present, he said, cannot stop the excitement for Kentucky’s future.
He noted Kentucky is celebrating the greatest economic investment in state history and “we are just getting started.”
“Our time is here. We are no longer a flyover state, we are the destination,” Beshear said.
2021 saw $11.2 billion in private sector investments bringing 18,000 jobs across the state.
With expansion in Kentucky’s signature industries like bourbon and huge investments in manufacturing and other sectors, Beshear said the jobs of the future coming to every part of our state.
As for where Kentucky goes after a record year, Beshear said “forward,” calling on both sides of the aisle to put aside partisan arguments to work together toward common goals.
Beshear noted in the coming weeks he will announce his budget proposal that reflecting “our Kentucky values.” He said the budget will make historic investments in education, create a fund for economic development, invest more in frontline workers, and provide a raise for all state workers. He also pointed to investments in infrastructure including an airport in Paducah, improvements to the state’s water and sewer systems, and said he hopes to announce next year that Kentucky will build a partner bridge to the Brent Spence without the use of tolls.
He closed his remarks with a call to all lawmakers to work together to take the bold actions to move forward “so we can look back decades from now and know this was the moment that made all the difference.”
“Let’s spend this session bettering the lives of our people, rebuilding our communities, bringing healing to those struggling with substance use disorder, focusing on education for a better workforce, and continued economic momentum that reaches all corners of our state,” Beshear said.