KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Governor Andy Beshear held a Team Kentucky update on Thursday. During the press conference, the governor discussed a variety of topics, including:
Here are the highlights from the December 8 Team Kentucky update.
Governor Beshear highlighted seven economic development projects that are expected to create nearly 6,000 jobs and represent more than $6 billion in new investment.
On Monday, Ford and SK On celebrated progress at BlueOval SK Battery Park, where their joint venture, BlueOval SK, has invested $5.8 billion to produce advanced batteries for future Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles. Production is slated to begin in 2025, and the project is expected to create 5,000 new jobs in Kentucky.
The governor highlighted growth within Kentucky’s food, beverage and agritech sector on Wednesday as protein producer Double D Group LLC announced a $41.5 million investment to establish a production facility in Muhlenberg County. The facility plans to create 200 direct full-time jobs and 40 contracted positions.
On Thursday, Governor Beshear announced new job creation within Kentucky’s bourbon industry as Pernod Ricard USA LLC, which produces leading brands such as Jefferson’s, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Absolut Vodka, Glenlivet and Chivas Brothers, will establish a new distillery in Marion County to create 55 full-time jobs with a $196 million investment. According to a release from the governor’s office, the project has the potential to grow to a $250 million investment across 10 years.
Governor Beshear also announced Kentucky Bourbon Distillers LTD, doing business as Willett Distillery, will invest nearly $93 million in Washington County to build warehouses and additional production facilities, creating 35 full-time jobs. He also highlighted continued momentum of the state’s agritech and manufacturing sectors as Osmundson Mfg. Co. will locate a new facility in Graves County with a $12.5 million investment that will create 80 jobs over the coming years.
Earlier this week, Beshear congratulated leaders of electric cable producer Prysmian Group on the ribbon-cutting of the company’s newly renovated North American headquarters in Highland Heights. The project represents a $4.7 million investment which officials say will retain 400 employees at the location.
Finally, the governor highlighted further growth of the state’s manufacturing sector as Nationwide Uniform Corp., a wholly-owned subsidary of Fechheimer Brothers Co., announced an $11.5 million investment to expand operations in Hogenville, creating 63 jobs for Kentuckians.
Western Kentucky tornado anniversary
Saturday, December 10, will be the one-year anniversary of the western Kentucky tornado that took the lives of 81 Kentuckians.
Over the last year, western Kentucky has received more than $31.8 million in federal assistance. The federal government also provided more than $59.8 million to support local businesses and more than $42 million in Western Kentucky SAFE Act funds.
The Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund received more than 150,000 donations totaling over $523 million. That fund pledged $16 million to build 300 homes in the area affected by the tornado. According to the governor’s office, 40 families have received keys to a new home built in cooperation with Homes and hope, Habitat for Humanity and the Fuller Center on Housing.
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Eastern Kentucky flooding
Governor Beshear announced more than $181.4 million in grants have been approved under the Federal Emergency Management Agency for individual and household assistance, housing grants and other needs for people impacted by July’s historic floods. Over $56.6 million has also been approved under the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The governor said Kentucky State Parks are now housing 130 people, down from the 360 people sheltered on September 1. Currently, 266 households are being housed in travel trailers. There are 324 travel trailers on site in 10 different locations.
Cleaner Water Program
The governor’s Cleaner Water Program is part of a bipartisan agreement with the General Assembly to fund $250 million in water and sewer projects across Kentucky.
Morton’s Gap was the first project announced under the Cleaner Water Program, and now six households in the area now have clean drinking water for the first time according to a release from the governor’s office.
“Many people don’t realize there are still Kentuckians who do not have access to clean water,” said Gov. Beshear. “Quality water and sewer systems make a difference for our families because they ensure a basic human right for Kentuckians. That’s a top priority for my administration, and with this program, we are making great progress.”
Protecting youth in state custody
Governor Beshear announced male juveniles will soon be housed by offender characteristics related to the potential for violent, distributive behavior to safeguard youth and staff of the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Beginning in 2023, males 14-years or older who have been charged with a serious or violent offense will be transferred to a high security facility.
The governor also announced he will be taking additional steps to better support the staff at DJJ detention centers by ensuring staff has protective equipment, expanding the job functions and personnel of the transportation unit and continuing to increase recruitment and retention efforts.
Governor Beshear said the spread of influenza is continuing to increase in Kentucky. 14 influenza deaths have been reported for Kentucky’s current season. The flu vaccine has been updated this year and is expected to perform well against the circulating strain.
Beshear says RSV activity appears to be declining, but outbreaks are still occurring in day cares and preschools. RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.
Beshear also said the most recent COVID-19 data appears to be increasing following Thanksgiving, and encouraged anyone eligible to get their COVID-19 vaccine booster.
Team Kentucky All-Stars
Finally, the governor named The Salvation Army and all those volunteering to ring bells, and those who make donations, as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.
“During the holiday season, we each have to do our part in helping our neighbors. I am grateful to be governor of a state that goes the extra mile to help others,” said Gov. Beshear. “This is a time of giving, and I encourage each of you to sign up and ring the bell.”
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