Kentucky has a new governor. Calling on the state to set a national example of casting aside political divisions, Democrat Andy Beshear was sworn in just after midnight Tuesday in the Governor’s Mansion. Beshear defeated Republican Matt Bevin. Jacqueline Coleman was sworn in as the state’s lieutenant governor. Her background as a teacher and assistant principal was a key asset in a campaign that stressed support for public education.
Their middle-of-the-night swearing-in was a Kentucky tradition, ensuring continuity at the head of state government. Tuesday’s inaugural events include a worship service, a parade and a public swearing-in on the Capitol steps.
Before Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear took the oath of office, hundreds of teachers lead the parade in celebration.
Among those were educators from Daviess County.
They came from Daviess, Muhlenberg, and other counties across the commonwealth to lead the parade as it made its way to the state capitol. Now that Beshear is governor, their attention turns to what he can do for them in the next four years.
“There’s a lot of excitement in the air,” said Laura Murphy, a teacher at Daviess Co. Middle School.
Before the bands, governors, both current and former, and others marched down Capital Avenue, it started with these educators.
“To be representing them has just been wonderful today,” said Allie Lindow, a teacher at Country Heights Elem. School.
The group from Daviess County joined hundreds of others as grand marshals. For many of them, it’s their first time being in the middle of one instead of just watching.
“I think it’s really exciting because we’ve never been in a parade before and instead of watching from the sidelines, we’re going to be a part of the action from the front. So that’s exciting for all of us,” Murphy said.
Governor Beshear credited teachers for helping him win narrowly over former Governor Matt Bevin last month by more than 5,000 votes. They also say they want to see Beshear keep his promise to them.
“We expect our new governor to stand up for our teachers, to stand up for the Kentucky Retirement System, and for lots of other systems throughout the state,” said Jennifer Kidd of West Louisville Elementary.
After the march, the teachers say it was an exciting experience and a great opportunity despite the cold weather.
“It was awesome. It was great. We made history,” said Becky Luckett, a teacher at West Louisville Elementary.
“Kids were yelling out, parents and people were yelling out, ‘Thank you teachers!’ over and over and that meant a lot to us,” Murphy said.
The teachers and educators were selected to lead the parade as a way for Governor Beshear to show his appreciation to them for what they do.
(This story was originally published on December 10, 2019)