Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear offered up a slew of challenges in his annual State Of The Commonwealth speech Tuesday night. He managed to call out Washington, Wall Street, and The Kentucky State Senate all within 30 minutes, and nary a word on casino gambling!
Beshear is normally restrained when giving speeches, but actually managed to call up some fire and brimstone when he called for Washington to “get off our backs” when it comes to regulating the coal industry. More impressive than I’ve seen from him in a while. He also managed to directly challenge the Kentucky State Senate-calling on the GOP-controlled body to pass the bill raising the dropout age to 18. That same bill passed the House overwhelmingly last year, but failed miserably in the Senate. You might look at that as a challenge to Senate President David Williams too, since he’s the top hand over that herd of Senators. Oh did I mention Williams is the GOP front runner for the Governor’s office?
Other than those instances it was all about the economy. I for one don’t begrudge Beshear anything when it comes to how he’s handled the budget situation during his administration. It was just days after he won the election that the media was called to Frankfort for a press conference to let all of us know Kentucky was facing a massive shortfall, and oh by the way–the previous Governor spent all the road fund money. Kind of torpedoed Beshear’s first term from the beginning. But I digress.
The Governor touted his many successes in balancing the troubled budgets, and says there’s “light at the end of the tunnel.” He may be right, but the light isn’t that bright-yet. Beshear also mentioned the fact that he’s against tax increases, (in an election year-who knew?) And now says his, “top priority is jobs.” But he did not utter the words, gambling, casino, or gaming, so I thought I was hearing things at first. this is the first time Beshear has NOT mentioned any of those words in a State Of The Commonwealth since he took office. It seems he finally has shaken his addiction to his campaign platform, (Governor’s Anonymous?)
He finally managed to come out hard for coal, and that got the biggest ovation of the night. Beshear has never been very vocal when it came to coal miners, operators, or coal in general, but seems to finally realize that while Horse Racing may be the glamor puss of Kentucky industry, Coal is the meat and potatoes, and voters care more about coal than stud fees.
He even managed to compliment David Williams directly, pledging support for a bill establishing a one-stop business portal that Williams is co-sponsoring. Smart moves for the most part by the Gov. He seemed to take the high ground early in this election race during the speech. You did realize this was a political speech too–didn’t you?
Now-let’s sit back and see who slings more mud during the remainder of the session.