KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Governor Andy Beshear delivered his weekly Team Kentucky update on February 16. During the press conference, the governor discussed the following topics:

Here are the highlights from Governor Beshear’s February 16 Team Kentucky update.

Economic development

Governor Beshear joined leaders from Wilde Brands Inc. on Tuesday for a flag-raising ceremony at their new Winchester facility. In September 2020, Wilde Brands announced plans for a $9.78 million, 50-job production and distribution facility in Clark County. According to a release from the governor’s office, it now employs 100 workers and they have plans to hire an additional 50 in the coming months.

“I want to thank Wilde Brands CEO Jason Wright for continuing to expand the company’s presence here in the commonwealth and contributing to Kentucky’s thriving food and beverage industry, which employs over 57,000 Kentuckians,” said Gov. Beshear.

During the Team Kentucky update, Governor Beshear highlighted Kentucky’s economic momentum as State Budget Director John Hicks reported revenues for January were $1.2 billion, which is $75.1 million more than was collected in January 2022, making it the best Januaray in terms of state revenue in Kentucky’s history. Revenues have grown 7.6% through the first seven months of fiscal year 2023.

Eastern Kentucky Flood

Governor Beshear also provided an updated on eastern Kentucky’s recovery and rebuilding efforts.

According to Beshear, there are 222 families being housed in travel trailers and Kentucky State Parks are now housing 20 people, down from the 360 people sheltered on September 1. The Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund has raised over $13.1 million from more than 41,500 donors.

The governor also announced over $6.5 million in awards from the Eastern Kentukcy SAFE Fund, including:

  • $18,326 to Jackson Energy Cooperative to fund a FEMA match
  • $400,000 to Letcher County Fiscal Court to help ease the fiscal strain of FEMA ineligible reimbursement
  • More than $6 million to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to fund a FEMA match

Orphan well plugging

Governor Beshear says 354 orphan oil and gas wells across the commonwealth have been capped in 14 counties since he announced a $25 million grant as part of his Better Kentucky Plan’s Stronger Communities Program. Beshear said over 40 contracts have been signed to plug a total of 638 wells.

Of the 22 states that received money to plug wells, seven have begun plugging.

Team Kentucky All-Star

Gov. Beshear named Chris Stapleton, who performed the national anthem before the Super Bowl, as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Star. The governor also thanked the singer for his help following the floods in eastern Kentucky.

“From his music to his on-site support of his neighbors after July’s devastating flooding, Chris is always representing our commonwealth in the best way,” said Gov. Beshear. “That’s why this week I am proud to name Chris Stapleton as our Team Kentucky All-star. Chris, thanks for making all of us proud!”