Beshear, Coleman inaugurated as governor and lieutenant governor

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Andy Beshear's swearing in as governor. Image courtesy of the Office of the Governor of Kentucky.

Andrew Meiners

On Tuesday, Andy Beshear and Jacqueline Coleman were inaugurated as Kentucky’s 63rd Governor and 58th Lieutenant Governor, respectively, at the Kentucky State Capitol, flanked by educators and other public employees.

Citywide closures in Frankfort were widespread due to the day’s events, leading to extensive traffic, a rare sight for the quaint city. Most streets east of the Capitol building were closed to accommodate the parade route and planning for the ceremony.

Rebecca Winston, a local resident who lives near the Capitol, said that she had never seen so much traffic in Frankfort before, but noted that she enjoyed the enthusiasm surrounding the events in her city.

“I’m not very political, but I love seeing people come from all over the state to see the new governor. I’m also glad that Bevin is gone because he really wasn’t a good leader for our state and caused more problems than he solved,” Winston remarked.

The first main event was the inaugural parade, which included horse-drawn carriages and a march including teachers donning red t-shirts reminiscent of the ‘Red for Ed’ protests that took place in the spring.

After the parade, the swearing-in ceremony began, where Beshear and Coleman were sworn in by Kentucky Supreme Court Justices Michelle M. Keller and John D. Minton Jr. They were accompanied by their families and individuals who had high-visibility roles during the campaign, including educator and former candidate for state representative Cathy Carter and St. Matthews Elementary School principal Scott Collier.

Laura Hartke, a teacher in Fayette County Public Schools and an emcee of the inauguration, expressed excitement about the incoming administration and its openness to including educators in political discourse.

“I am looking forward to having a voice in the administration and being respected and valued,” Hartke said.

Emilie McKiernan Blanton, a Southern High School teacher and representative for the Jefferson County Teachers Association, criticized the outgoing administration but was confident that the new leadership would do things differently.

“We’ve had four years of pettiness and nepotism. It’s going to be refreshing to have a governor who is one of us and listens to all of us,” Blanton said.

The new administration will serve until December 12, 2023. The remaining constitutional offices, including Secretary of State, Treasurer and others, will assume office January 6.