Politics & Government

Beshear begins transition, says election has ended and it’s ‘time to move forward’

Democrat Andy Beshear said Wednesday he is moving forward to take the reins of the state’s highest public office despite Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s contention that the race for governor is not over.

“Last night the election ended. It ended and it’s time to move forward with a smooth transition that we are here to do the people’s business,” said Beshear at a news conference at the Muhammad Ali Center.

With him were his wife, Britainy; his running mate Jacqueline Coleman and her husband Chris O’Bryan; Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and several education officials. Also present was Lonnie Ali, widow of the heavyweight boxing champion for whom the center is named.

Beshear, Kentucky’s Attorney General, announced that his deputy attorney general, J. Michael Brown, will head his transition team and that his top staff as governor would include Republicans and independents.

Brown, a former district judge in Jefferson County and state justice secretary during the administration of Andy Beshear’s father, Gov. Steve Beshear, said his job is “to make the best choices that we can put people in place to continue serving people. It’s really that simple.”

Beshear said more members of his transition team will be announced soon and that he believes Bevin will help out in the transition once he explores all his options about the election.

Beshear played down efforts by Bevin to contest the results of Tuesday’s vote and said he has not yet talked to Bevin and was not aware of any irregularities in the vote.

He said it was “time to get to work,” noting that he has to submit a “critical” budget to the state legislature near the end of January that will support public education and health care and that he needs to appoint a Cabinet.

Beshear also said he would leave it to “national pundits” to say how Kentucky’s election might affect President Trump’s political future.

Trump said Tuesday night that his huge rally Monday night at Rupp Arena in Lexington helped Bevin narrow the gap by 15 or so percentage points.

Beshear said Wednesday that he never saw a poll showing him with such a lead and that he “did not know what other information people had.”

His earliest actions as governor, said Beshear, include “giving this state a brand new board of education and restoring voting rights for more than 140,000 non-violent felons.” He expressed confidence that he can work with the state legislature that is controlled by Republicans in both the Senate and House.

“The politics part of this is over. It’s time for government,” Beshear said.

Beshear also said he has talked to Attorney General-elect Daniel Cameron, the first Republican to hold that office since World War II and the first African-American to be elected to a Kentucky constitutional office, about who will take over the attorney general’s office in December.

The governor will be inaugurated Dec. 10. Other constitutional officers, including the attorney general, are not sworn in until the new year.

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Jack Brammer is Frankfort bureau chief for the Lexington Herald-Leader. He has covered politics and government in Kentucky since May 1978. He has a Master’s in communications from the University of Kentucky and is a native of Maysville, Ky.
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