By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line
FRANKFORT, Ky. — In his fourth State of the Commonwealth address, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin pulled out his “Blueprint for a Better Kentucky” campaign agenda from the 2015 election to reflect on successes of recent years and work still to be done.
Bevin began his speech by saying the state of the commonwealth is strong and highlighted family, faith, freedom, life, education and jobs as opportunities Kentucky is blessed to have.
In highlighting the successes seen in the last four years and the status of issues he ran on in 2015, the governor pointed to pro-business legislation including right to work, which has helped bring in more than $17 billion in new investments and 49,000 jobs. He also touted efforts to begin modernizing the state’s tax code, addressing the pension crisis by providing full funding and more for the systems in recent years, reforming government with his Red Tape Reduction campaign, and more.
Bevin also pointed to the modernization of the state’s education system with more money being allocated toward education and Work Ready initiatives as well as Kentucky’s changes to Medicaid.
While there is much to celebrate, Bevin said there are still things Kentuckians need to be concerned with. He highlighted the Marshall County shooting a year ago today when two students died. He thanked the legislature for their work on the issue during the 2019 session and stated his support for the school safety legislation.
The governor also showed a photo of himself and Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton with a young boy, detailing the hope and promise of the young boy and followed it with the unfortunate news that just two years after that photo, that child took his own life due to bullying. Bevin also pointed to a young woman in Kentucky who recently died of a fentanyl overdose at the age of just 18. He stressed that there is much work to do on these issues and said Kentucky will not ignore them.
Bevin also took time in his speech to discuss foster care and pro-life measures passed by the legislature and celebrated work on those issues.
In his addresses in recent years, he has also recommended a book to read. On Thursday night, Bevin said he had a book recommendation in mind but decided instead to encourage Kentuckians to read the sacred scriptures of their faith following the recent unfortunate vandalism of a Hindu temple in Louisville, highlighting the right of all Americans to worship freely.
In closing his speech, Gov. Bevin reiterated Kentucky has made much progress and has a lot to celebrate and said to legislators “we are all in this together” and celebrated the work of the General Assembly on the policies that have put Kentucky in this position.