Inauguration day at the state capital can be a long day for state officials. But, it’s the governor who has the longest day. Steve Beshear was officially sworn in for his second term just after midnight. After a little rest, the governor then participates in everything from an early morning worship service to an evening ball.
First thing Tuesday, the Kentucky State University concert choir greeted Governor Beshear at the inaugural worship service at Frankfort’s downtown civic center.
Religion, these days, is a common element of politics. In his message to state officials, the pastor of the governor’s church saw no problem with that. The Reverend Bill McDonald says it’s only to be expected that politics and religion go together.
“It’s people that are in politics…that’s the definition of the word therefore religion is in politics because it’s in people.. it should not be used as a hammer of any type,..but it should be used as a grounding for the folks who are leading us,” said McDonald.
The governor, First Lady Jane Beshear, Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson and his wife went from the worship service directly to the front of the inaugural parade.
In horse drawn carriages, the party was carried down capital avenue right up to the viewing stand at the base of the capital steps. Just off to the side of the stand sat 89 year old Hazel Demory from Grand Rivers in west Kentucky. Demory has attended most of Kentucky’s inaugurations, but isn’t shy about expressing her political preferences..
“I’ve been to everyone since Ned Breathitt, I think, except the Republicans,” said Demory.
Even among the inauguration’s festivities, there was an effort to make a statement. A handheld protest sign, clearly seen along the parade route, expressed serious concerns about mountaintop removal coal mining. Holding the placard was Caroline Taylor, who’s a native of Savannah, Georgia, and has lived in Kentucky for decades.
“I am passionate about saving the mountains…we have got to stop mountaintop removal in Kentucky in order to get Appalachia back to what it was originally.. clean our water and air up,” added Taylor.
Besides Governor Steve Beshear, former governor Paul Patton is the only living governor who has served two consecutive terms. His advise for Beshear is to continue with his agenda, which Patton says should include an expansion of gambling.
“I think he ought to do what he’s been doing…very important that we recover the 400 million dollars of Kentucky money that’s going out of this state with gaming…that’s very important that we do that,” said Patton
As if on cue, in between festivities, the governor was asked about expanded gambling. He promised to put a constitutional amendment before voters. And would like to see the effort begin in the Kentucky senate….which is dominated by Republicans.
By mid afternoon, it was time for the ceremonial swearing in on the steps of the state capital. In his inaugural address, the governor struck a bi-partisan tone.
“For the challenges that confront us today.. demand nothing less…than unity of purpose and unselfish cooperation,” said Beshear.
That type of cooperation is often hard to find in Frankfort…with Democrats controlling the house and a senate controlled by the
G-O-P. Senate President David Williams, who lost to Beshear in the race for governor, added today is not the day to be critical.
“I told his chief of staff a few minutes ago, that I hope four years from now I have the opportunity to say Steve Beshear was the best governor I ever worked for,” said Williams.
Time will tell. And time is ticking away.. Lawmakers and the governor come together January third for the start of yet another legislative session.