Now that we know Governor Steve Beshear will not be facing an opponent in the Democratic primary, it will be interesting, (and no doubt entertaining), to sit back and watch the annual State Of the Commonwealth Speech coming up when the General Assembly returns to Frankfort next week. I expect Beshear will attempt to create the illusion that he’s got just as ambitious an agenda as David Williams. The trouble with that scenario is that the GOP Senate President from Burkesville, has already managed to push most of his own agenda through the Senate.
Williams is also running for Governor as the presumptive GOP nominee, although he is facing two opponents. Well he sure did beat Beshear to the punch in week one of this year’s short session. During the time period when not much usually gets done except leadership elections, Williams unveiled-and the Senate passed-multiple pieces of legislation on a variety of topics. Granted they must now all clear the House, but Williams certainly managed to get a huge head start on the Governor. At least that was the early perception. In truth, not much of the Williams-backed agenda has a chance to pass the house, but you have to give him credit for trying.
The Senate President managed to include Immigration Reform, changing the Tax Code, and School Choice in the package. Call it pandering to the masses if you like, but isn’t that exactly what political campaigns are all about? Think about this. If none of the Williams bills pass, he can step back and say, “I tried”, then blame Democrats-led by Beshear-for holding up progress on reforms of all kinds. On the other hand if Beshear outlines any kind of ideas in the upcoming speech, he’d better hope he can deliver, because otherwise, Williams can point to his failure-percieved or otherwise-and say, “I told you so.”
Bottom line Governor Beshear better have a dandy speech lined up for next week, because it will be the first of many salvoes that are unleased in this campaign. I expect thing to get ugly-maybe even during the legislative session. I do know that if you’re a political junkie, Fancy Farm is the place to be this summer! You have a full slate of statewide races being contested with a lot of brand new candidates, and this governor’s race taking center stage. Buckle up Kentucky!