HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT)– Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear faced lawmakers tonight as he presented his fourth State of the Commonwealth Address. The governor says it has been a major test for Kentuckians following two natural disasters.
“A pandemic, tornadoes, ice storms, a polar plunge, temporary but tough inflation, and even a war in Europe, the State of the Commonwealth is still strong,” Beshear says.
Beshear highlighted how Kentuckians came together, even when faced with tragedy. The governor recognized first responders, who rescued over 1,300 Kentuckians from flood waters in eastern Kentucky. This as the recovery from the December 10th, 2021 tornado continued through all of 2022.
“What fills me with pride is how Kentucky faced these challenges. We got through them and we got through them together,” he says.
Beshear says 2022 was also a year of growth and progress. With the books closed for 2022, Beshear says the state has secured the best two year period for economic growth in history.
“In 2022 our average incentivized wage was $26.78 before benefits. That is a 11.5% increase since 2021.
Governor Beshear also highlighted his 2023 legislation proposals, which includes enacting the Education First Plan into a law. This would give a pay raise to every public school educator in the state.
“Passage of this bill is crucial and necessary to address Kentucky’s shortage of nearly 11,000 public school teachers,” he says.
Beshear also hopes to pass bills that would legalize sports betting and medical marijuana.
“Too many Kentuckians are suffering, like our veterans with PTSD or Kentuckians with cancer,” the governor says.
The governor is proposing higher worker salaries and upgrades to juvenile detention facilities.
“The Commonwealth is strong and our future is looking bright,” he says.
Beshear is seeking a second term.
Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives, David Osborne and Rep. Jason Nemes (R-Louisville), who serves as Majority Whip of the 2023 House Majority Caucus went on Facebook Live to give their reaction to the address.
“I think that every person in the state of Kentucky knows what the state of their Commonwealth is. I though that he did a good job of highlighting a lot of successes. But I think that at the end of the day, the state of the Commonwealth is different for every person that is experiencing it,” Osborne says.
“I think that state is in pretty good shape, but I do not think is is because of all the efforts he took credit for tonight. Much of the things that he talked about, we know from the dealings, he had very little to do with,” Nemes says.
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