Tuesday’s bitterly cold weather didn’t deter Kentuckians from attending the many events celebrating Governor Andy Beshear’s Inauguration.
Beshear was sworn-in during a private ceremony at midnight then attended a breakfast, worship service, parade, public ceremony, open house, march in the rotunda, and an inauguration ball that were all free to the public.
Special guests throughout the day included many of the Commonwealth’s teachers.
Decked out in Red for Ed and full of hope and optimism, they ushered Governor Beshear to the steps of the capitol during the 61st Inauguration Parade.
“I started crying. We have worked so hard. We have campaigned. We have knocked on doors. To know that we have someone up here who is going to fight for teachers, stand up for us, actually help us, and knows the value of public education, is a great feeling,” said Mona Eldridge a middle school teacher.
It is a feeling shared by the new Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman, who is an educator herself.
“I believe at my core, education is one of the greatest gifts we can give,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman, during her inauguration speech.
Promising to stand behind teachers and fund public education, on Tuesday morning, just hours after taking office, Beshear reorganized the Kentucky Board of Education.
“We need to pay our teachers a living wage. We will start by including a $2,000 across the board raise,” promised Governor Beshear.
He also talked about health care, jobs, pensions, and announced that on Thursday he will return the right to vote to many in the state with a criminal past.
The announcement was greeted with a booming cheer from the crowd.
“They deserve to participate in our great democracy,” explained Beshear.
Following the ceremony, Beshear welcomed people into the capitol for an open house, a first in Kentucky Inauguration history.
‘Having all the free events today sends that message. This is the people’s event,” said Mac Yocum a teacher in Frankfort.
Throughout the events, Beshear and his administration talked about Team Kentucky and the idea that everyone needs to work together for the common good.
However, they will face an overwhelming Republican majority in the state legislature.