FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — 2023 will be here before we know it, and it won't be long until another election... this time for Kentucky governor.
Governor Andy Beshear recently announced he's running for reelection, and there are more than a dozen candidates who have announced they will be challenging him next year.
In a one-on-one conversation, LEX 18 spoke with Gov. Beshear to discuss the upcoming election while reflecting on some of the biggest challenges of the past year.
Western Kentucky Tornadoes:
This weekend marks one year since tornadoes ripped through the western part of the state, particularly Mayfield and Dawson Springs. Gov. Beshear says what happened is very personal to him.
"Not only was it the biggest tornado in the history of Kentucky, an EF-4 that stayed on the ground for 200 miles in our state, it wiped out my Dad's hometown of Dawson Springs," said Gov. Beshear. "70% of every structure in that town, just gone."
The tornado also hit his mother's hometown of Bowling Green.
Gov. Beshear says he will be making several stops in western Kentucky to meet with many of the people still rebuilding.
The governor is scheduled to speak at three different prayer services and memorials.
There will be a "Day of Remembrance" hosted by the Habitat for Humanity in Dawson Springs, a community prayer service in Hardin County, and a memorial service called the "Celebration of Hope" in Graves County.
Gov. Beshear says one year later, we're seeing a lot of hope. Not only in tornado recovery efforts but in employment in the state, which is now at 3.9% — the lowest the state has ever seen.
"It's going to create careers for decades to come," he says.
That includes the nearly 6,000 jobs that will be coming with a battery plant in Hardin County.
"I mean it is planetary in size," Gov. Beshear said. "In today's dollars, it's 2.5x bigger than any investment we've ever seen. It is massive and you cannot overstate the importance it will have in our economy."
2023 Governor's Race:
Gov. Beshear is running for another 4-year term as governor, and he did not have much to say when it came to his Republican challengers in next year's gubernatorial election.
"When you govern through a pandemic and the worse tornado disaster, flooding disaster, the pandemic, two ice storms, you don't stay up at night worried about who your opponent is gonna be," he said.
While Governor Beshear will be focusing on his upcoming reelection campaign, he says he doesn't have any plans to make any major changes in his administration, including his running mate.
"Absolutely... Jacqueline Coleman is our candidate for Lt. Governor," Gov. Beshear said.
While his name has been mentioned as a possible Democratic contender in a future presidential election, I asked him about his future aspirations.
When asked if he had any plans for higher office, the governor said he's right where he's meant to be.
"I love this state. I'm raising my family here," he said. "I'm not moving."
Governor Beshear says even with the post-Thanksgiving bump we've seen in cases, the state is in a much better place than it was even a few months ago.
"I've been governor throughout the course of this ... and the number of people we could've lost if we hadn't sacrificed for each other the way that we did... I'm really proud," said Gov. Beshear. "[We have] highly effective vaccines, better treatments when folks get it ... we are in a significantly better place, and for that, I'm grateful."