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Ph.D.’s in Cooperation

By Lane Report Staff

Bellarmine University bestowed honorary doctor of law degrees upon Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels at the university’s May 12 spring commencement to recognize their regional partnership, civil public discourse and bipartisan cooperation for the benefit of all citizens.

“Both governors have demonstrated a genuine commitment to civility in public discourse, bipartisan cooperation and regionalism,” said Dr. Joseph J. McGowan, Bellarmine’s president. “In doing so, they have set a standard for effective governance that all government leaders and everyone in politics, media and society would do well to emulate. Citizens throughout both states will gain much from the increased cooperation between governments in Kentucky and Indiana that these two governors have demonstrated together.”

Beshear, a Democrat, and Daniels, a Republican, have worked cooperatively on infrastructure and economic development issues, most notably a financing plan to cut costs and speed completion of the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville and Southern Indiana.

It has become too rare today for politicians to cooperate with members of the opposite party. Rather than haggle over some perceived political advantage, though, the governors last year quickly managed to split the complicated infrastructure project in two: Kentucky will manage and pay for the downtown Louisville bridge and reworking of the I-65, I-71 and I-64 “Spaghetti Junction.” Indiana will manage and pay for the East End crossing bridge and its approaches.

Work is expected to begin late this year or early in 2013.

Civility in public discourse and bipartisan cooperation made both governors and both states big winners.

“Gov. Daniels and Gov. Beshear embody the principles taught at Bellarmine University, through our liberal arts curriculum, by exhibiting great skill in critical thinking and problem solving through effective dialogue,” said McGowan.

Maybe the governors should jointly teach a course in political science when their terms end.