Politics & Government

Unlike in 2007, ex-Gov. John Y. Brown will co-chair Beshear's inauguration

Former Kentucky governor, John Y. Brown Jr. at his home in Lexington, Ky., on Wednesday Feb. 23, 2011.  Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff
Former Kentucky governor, John Y. Brown Jr. at his home in Lexington, Ky., on Wednesday Feb. 23, 2011. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff

FRANKFORT — What a difference four years make.

In December 2007, former Gov. John Y. Brown Jr. declined fellow Democrat Steve Beshear's offer to be an honorary co-chairman of Beshear's inaugural committee with other former governors.

"I don't respect him. I don't want to be part of it. I'm not really interested in being politically correct," said Brown, who resented Beshear's unsuccessful 1987 campaign "distortions" of his administration's record.

Brown was governor from 1979 to 1983. Brown and Beshear competed for the governor's office in the 1987 Democratic primary election, but they lost to Wallace Wilkinson.

Brown said last week that Beshear recently called him and asked him to be an honorary co-chairman of Kentucky's 59th governor's inauguration on Dec. 13 with the other former governors.

This time, Brown accepted. "He was very nice, and I'm not a person who holds a grudge," Brown said.

Brown, who parlayed Kentucky Fried Chicken into a global business, said he worked with Beshear and first lady Jane Beshear on the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games last year at the Kentucky Horse Park.

"I like him, and she is super," Brown said. "He's gone through a rough economy, as I did as governor, and handled it well. I'm pulling for whoever is governor."

Beshear spokeswoman Kerri Richardson said Beshear is pleased that all the living former governors will be honorary co-chairs.

Beshear and Lt. Gov.-elect Jerry Abramson will be sworn in to office during a full day of festivities on Dec. 13.

The theme of the inauguration is "Kentucky Tomorrow." Kentuckians are being urged to recognize and consider the day as a day of service.

Most of the inauguration's cost will be covered by private donations, Beshear said.

All events are free and open to the public.

A worship service will start the day at 8:30 a.m. at the Frankfort Convention Center. It will be a non-denominational ceremony.

Worshippers and attendees are encouraged to drop off new toys or monetary donations at the service to benefit the Kentucky National Guard's Operation Military Cheer, a program that supports Kentucky military families in need during the holiday season.

The inaugural parade will run from 10 a.m. to noon. It will begin at the intersection of Wilkinson Boulevard and Broadway Street and will conclude in front of the Capitol.

The Kentucky Horse Park will provide open horse-drawn carriages for Beshear and first lady Jane Beshear and Abramson and his wife, Madeline Abramson.

The swearing-in ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. on the front steps of the Capitol. It will be emceed by Beshear's younger son, Andrew.

A musical prelude will begin at 1 p.m., and seating is available for the public.

Abramson will be sworn in first, then Beshear. State Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. will administer the oath to both officials.

A public reception will be held at the Kentucky History Center at 2:30 p.m.

The formal grand march in the Capitol will begin at 8 p.m., followed by a ball at 9 p.m..

For more information and updates on public inaugural events, go to the official inaugural Web site, Governor.ky.gov/inauguration.

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