Andy Beshear is the 63rd Governor of Kentucky. As such, he is the one who oversees his state’s efforts to bring the COVID-19 crisis under control, which has put him under the spotlight. However, this isn’t the first time that Beshear’s name has popped up in U.S. national news, seeing as how it took some time for his opponent ex-Governor Matt Bevin in the gubernatorial election to concede.
1. Not the First Politician in His Family
Beshear isn’t the first politician in his family. After all, his father is Steve Beshear, who was the 61st Governor of Kentucky. It is interesting to note that the elder Beshear’s victory was based on two factors. One, his Republican predecessor had been seriously weakened by an investigation into his administration’s violation of the state’s merit system. Two, he promised to expand casino gambling so that the resulting proceeds could be used to fund education as well as other social programs. In total, the elder Beshear served two terms because of term limits.
2. Member of the Christian Church
Religion-wise, Beshear is a member of the Christian Church. Sometimes, the Christian Church is called the Disciples of Christ, though this name is shared with a number of other groups that come from the same roots in the Second Great Awakening. It is interesting to note that the congregations that make up the Christian Church possess considerable independence when it comes to their religious beliefs, meaning that it isn’t a good idea to make assumptions about one congregation based on another congregation.
3. Studied At Vanderbilt University
Education-wise, Beshear studied at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. The school started out as the Central University of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, which was meant to train ministers in a location that was convenient for the Methodist Episcopal Church South’s congregations. However, its opening was hindered by a lack of funds until the business magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt was convinced to provide $500,000, thus resulting in its current name.
4. Studied At the University of Virginia School of Law
From Vanderbilt University, Beshear received a bachelor’s degree for political science as well as anthropology. Later, he went to the University of Virginia School of Law where he studied for a Juris Doctor, thus enabling him to pursue a legal career.
5. Elected to the Position of Attorney General of Kentucky
In 2015, Beshear was elected the new Attorney General of Kentucky. His victory was narrow at 50.1 percent of the vote compared to his Republican opponent’s 49.9 percent of the vote, with neither candidate having enjoyed an incumbency advantage because his predecessor had become ineligible to run because of term limits. It is interesting to note that Beshear’s father had been the Attorney General of Kentucky as well.
6. Successful in Suing the Governor
Beshear’s tenure as the Attorney General of Kentucky is best-known to a lot of people because he was successful in suing the Governor of Kentucky Matt Bevin not once but twice. First, the Kentucky Supreme Court agreed with him that Bevin didn’t have the authority to make mid-cycle budget cuts to the state university system. Second, the Kentucky Supreme Court agreed with him that a controversial plan to reform teacher pensions was unconstitutional. Besides this, Beshear initiated a number of lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies as well, claiming that they had played a role in Kentucky’s opioid epidemic.
7. Beat Matt Bevin in the Gubernatorial Election
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Beshear didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye with Bevin. As a result, he served just a single term as the Attorney General of Kentucky before running for the position of the Governor of Kentucky. In the end, Beshear managed to come out ahead with 49.20 percent of the vote compared to Bevin’s 48.83 percent of the vote, which was enough for him to be declared the winner by most interested parties. Bevin refused to concede the election for some time, claiming that there were voting irregularities for which he refused to provide any proof. However, the final outcome was never in serious doubt, as shown by how even Bevin’s fellow Republicans told him to just let it go at the time.
8. Restored Voting Rights to Those Who Have Served Out Their Sentences For Non-Violent Felonies
One of Beshear’s most notable moves as the Governor of Kentucky has been restoring voting rights to people who have served out their sentences for non-violent felonies. This is a subject of considerable interest to a lot of Democrats in a lot of jurisdictions because it is seen as a way to suppress the African-American vote. In any case, Beshear’s move restored voting rights to more than 100,000 people in his state, which makes sense because something like 4 percent of African-American adults are convicted non-violent felons.
9. Believes in Climate Change
Climate change remains a political issue in the United States. Beshear is very much a believer in the reality of human-caused climate change, which has informed his political positions to a considerable extent. For instance, he is interested in creating clean energy jobs in his state for the purpose of replacing coal jobs. Furthermore, he has been looking at clean coal technology, which refers to various techniques and technologies that are meant to extend the lifespan of the coal industry by reducing its environmental impact.
10. Has Pointed Out the Financial Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis For the States
It is interesting to note that Beshear has spoken out about the negative impact that the COVID-19 crisis is having on the finances of the states. After all, the novel coronavirus has not just increased state spending but also reduced state revenues at the same time, meaning that a lot of states are struggling at the moment. Naturally, these states have been looking to the federal government for assistance, which has been met with a less than enthusiastic response from the Republicans. However, as Beshear pointed out, the refusal of federal assistance for the states will mean a much more painful recovery because their financial issues will have a very real effect on a wide range of state-level programs.