Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear gave his first state of the Commonwealth address on Tuesday.
Gov. Beshear said Kentucky’s future depends on leaving divisive politics in the past and focusing on providing opportunity for every Kentucky family.
“We, in this capital and around Kentucky, are responsible for using the power and privilege of office to do right by Kentuckians, to focus our energy not on partisan squabbles but on working together to figure out how to better the commonwealth we all love so dearly,” Gov. Beshear said.
He also highlighted the importance of breaking the cycles of poverty, abuse, and addiction, saying that change will occur once those cycles are broken.
“That is the promise of our commonwealth. That by breaking one cycle of poverty, by providing one person a high school or college degree they never dreamed they can achieve, we can forever – and for the better – change the trajectory of our people,” said Gov. Beshear.
Gov. Beshear called on lawmakers to approve a constitutional amendment automatically restoring voting rights to nonviolent offenders who have completed their sentences.
He also called for:
- Passing a law to ensure no one can lose health care coverage because of a preexisting condition.
- Fully funding pension obligations.
- Passage of bipartisan proposal curbing the cost of insulin.
- Ending surprise medical bills that can financially devastate families.
- Defeating pharmaceutical companies and require every dollar from these companies go towards ending the opioid epidemic.
- Criminal justice reform to end the state’s high incarceration rate that hurts our budget and our communities.
- Equal pay for women.
- Ensuring every area of the state has high-speed internet.
- Transforming Kentucky to a leader in agriculture technology.
Gov. Beshear reiterated his unwavering support for public education and said his “education first budget” would include a $2,000 raise for teachers.
“These teachers deserve a raise. They are on the front lines of every problem we face as a commonwealth, from family-member addiction, to hunger, to the need for better jobs,” Gov. Beshear said.
He also outlines priorities for ending historic cuts to universities and community colleges.
Gov. Beshear said he would continue to remain focused on ‘WHERE’ the state is going and the Team Kentucky agenda, which is focused on creating good-wages, protecting health care, transforming education, protecting retirement and setting a good example in Frankfort.
He concluded his remarks by focusing on the power and the responsibility of state leaders to break the cycle of poverty, addiction, and neglect by working together.
“It is how we move forward. I know we have more in common than what divides us. I know that we can do what are entrusted here to do: deliver results for Kentuckians,” said Gov. Beshear.
You can read Governor Beshear’s full State of the Commonwealth Address here.