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2015 events worth remembering

By Pat Freibert

2015 has been quite a year, filled with significant events worth noting and remembering. Before we say farewell to this year, a brief summary is in order.

A magnificent and engaging horse named American Pharoah thrilled his fans and all of the horseracing world with his brilliance. He first won the Kentucky Derby and proceeded to win the Preakness and Belmont to win the first “Triple Crown” since Affirmed in 1978. But this super horse was not finished.

Pharoah went on to win The Breeders Cup Classic, which was run at Keeneland Race Course, the crown jewel of American Thoroughbred race tracks. Lexington horseman and philanthropist John Gaines, now deceased, would have relished seeing this Breeders Cup Race hosted at Keeneland. Gaines was the driving force behind establishing the Breeders Cup Race.

The University of Kentucky basketball Wildcats posted a perfect undefeated regular season in 2015, even though they fell short of winning the national collegiate championship. The icing on the cake for UK sports in 2015 was the induction of UK basketball Coach John Calipari into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Another salient Kentucky event in 2015 has to be Kentucky’s election of Republican Matt Bevin as the commonwealth’s new governor. Bevin, a businessman, won easily and stands as only the second Republican to be elected governor in more than 40 years. Voters in Kentucky handed victories to several other Republicans elected to statewide constitutional offices. Even more historic, Bevin’s running mate who is a Republican woman, became the first black woman to win a statewide election In Kentucky. She is now the commonwealth’s lieutenant governor.

Both the governor and lieutenant governor are military veterans and hail from the business world. This election also demonstrated that a candidate or slate can win a statewide election in Kentucky while losing by significant margins in the commonwealth’s two most populous counties. The Kentucky GOP won neither Fayette nor Jefferson County, but prevailed easily by winning 106 of the 120 counties.

In other important events that occurred beyond Kentucky in 2015, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner resigned and Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin was elected speaker; law enforcement officers continued to be targeted and murdered, including a young Richmond, Ky., officer; the Veterans Administration continued to come under fire because of ongoing reports of further scandalous practices – but those implicated still have their jobs and their bonuses, just as at the IRS. America’s veterans wait and wait for medical treatment, or even an appointment with a doctor. Shame on Washington.

Also in 2015, the Pope came to visit America. So did China’s President and Communist party chief Xi Jinping. Despite tension over China’s role in cyber attacks on private and government entities in the United States and their increasingly expansionist behavior in international waters in the South China Sea, Xi Jinping was greeted with a 21-gun salute at the White House and a full state dinner with all the trappings.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also visited the White House in 2015, but he was not welcomed with the same enthusiasm typically afforded America’s strongest ally in the world’s most troubled region. No 21-gun salute, no state dinner. In fact, Netanyahu ingloriously entered the White House through a rear door.

Another 2015 event that needs mentioning is the recent death of the publisher of this statewide business magazine, The Lane Report. His passing is a true loss to Kentucky in many ways. In addition to his real estate business and his publishing involvement, Ed Lane was Council Member of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. He dedicated time and energy to both the public and private sectors of his community and state. He was a good, kind and fair person and will be missed.

These and other events made 2015 quite a year. In this season of good will, let us all ask with humility for God to continue blessing America. America is still the greatest country, and liberty is the greatest gift.