Steve Beshear
Overview
 
Steven Lynn "Steve" Beshear (born September 21, 1944) is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 politician who is the 61st Governor
Governor of Kentucky
The Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the head of the executive branch of government in the U.S. state of Kentucky. Fifty-six men and one woman have served as Governor of Kentucky. The governor's term is four years in length; since 1992, incumbents have been able to seek re-election once...

 of the Commonwealth
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 of Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

. A Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, Beshear previously served in the Kentucky House of Representatives
Kentucky House of Representatives
The Kentucky House of Representatives is the lower house of the Kentucky General Assembly. It is composed of 100 Representatives elected from single-member districts throughout the Commonwealth. Not more than two counties can be joined to form a House district, except when necessary to preserve...

 from 1974 to 1979, was the state's Attorney General
Attorney General of Kentucky
The Attorney General of Kentucky is an office created by the Kentucky Constitution. . Under Kentucky law, he serves several roles, including the state's chief prosecutor , the state's chief law enforcement officer , and the state's chief law officer...

 from 1980 to 1983, and was Lieutenant Governor
Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky
The office of lieutenant governor of Kentucky has existed under the last three of Kentucky's four constitutions, beginning in 1797. The lieutenant governor serves as governor of Kentucky under circumstances similar to the Vice President of the United States assuming the powers of the presidency...

 from 1983 to 1987.

After graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law
University of Kentucky College of Law
The College of Law is a college of the University of Kentucky. Founded initially from a law program at Transylvania University in 1799, the law program at UK began operations in 1908; it was one of the nation's first public law schools...

 in 1968, Beshear briefly practiced law in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 before returning to Kentucky and being elected to the state legislature
Kentucky General Assembly
The Kentucky General Assembly, also called the Kentucky Legislature, is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Kentucky.The General Assembly meets annually in the state capitol building in Frankfort, Kentucky, convening on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January...

, where he gained a reputation as a consumer advocate.
Encyclopedia
Steven Lynn "Steve" Beshear (born September 21, 1944) is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 politician who is the 61st Governor
Governor of Kentucky
The Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the head of the executive branch of government in the U.S. state of Kentucky. Fifty-six men and one woman have served as Governor of Kentucky. The governor's term is four years in length; since 1992, incumbents have been able to seek re-election once...

 of the Commonwealth
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 of Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

. A Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, Beshear previously served in the Kentucky House of Representatives
Kentucky House of Representatives
The Kentucky House of Representatives is the lower house of the Kentucky General Assembly. It is composed of 100 Representatives elected from single-member districts throughout the Commonwealth. Not more than two counties can be joined to form a House district, except when necessary to preserve...

 from 1974 to 1979, was the state's Attorney General
Attorney General of Kentucky
The Attorney General of Kentucky is an office created by the Kentucky Constitution. . Under Kentucky law, he serves several roles, including the state's chief prosecutor , the state's chief law enforcement officer , and the state's chief law officer...

 from 1980 to 1983, and was Lieutenant Governor
Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky
The office of lieutenant governor of Kentucky has existed under the last three of Kentucky's four constitutions, beginning in 1797. The lieutenant governor serves as governor of Kentucky under circumstances similar to the Vice President of the United States assuming the powers of the presidency...

 from 1983 to 1987.

After graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law
University of Kentucky College of Law
The College of Law is a college of the University of Kentucky. Founded initially from a law program at Transylvania University in 1799, the law program at UK began operations in 1908; it was one of the nation's first public law schools...

 in 1968, Beshear briefly practiced law in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 before returning to Kentucky and being elected to the state legislature
Kentucky General Assembly
The Kentucky General Assembly, also called the Kentucky Legislature, is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Kentucky.The General Assembly meets annually in the state capitol building in Frankfort, Kentucky, convening on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January...

, where he gained a reputation as a consumer advocate. He parlayed that reputation into a term as attorney general, serving under Governor John Y. Brown, Jr.
John Y. Brown, Jr.
This article is about one of four John Young Browns, from Kentucky, that have served political office. For others see: John Young Brown ...

 As attorney general, Beshear issued an opinion that copies of the Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

 would have to be removed from the walls of the state's classrooms in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

's decision in Stone v. Graham
Stone v. Graham
Stone v. Graham, , was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that a Kentucky statute requiring the posting of a copy of the Ten Commandments, purchased with private contributions, on the wall of each public classroom in the State, was unconstitutional, in violation of the...

. He also clashed with first lady Phyllis George Brown when he opposed the practice of charging an admission fee for visitors to view the renovated governor's mansion
Kentucky Governor's Mansion
The Kentucky Governor's Mansion is an historic residence in Frankfort, Kentucky. It is located at the East lawn of the Capitol, at the end of Capital Avenue...

. In 1983, Beshear was elected lieutenant governor in the administration of Governor Martha Layne Collins
Martha Layne Collins
Martha Layne Collins is a politician from the US state of Kentucky. From 1983 to 1987 she was the 56th Governor of Kentucky, having served the previous four years as lieutenant governor. She was Kentucky's first and only female governor to date...

. His most significant action in this capacity was the formation of the Kentucky Tomorrow Commission, a panel charged with making recommendations for the future of the state.

Beshear's initial rise to political prominence was interrupted in 1987 when he finished third in a five-way Democratic gubernatorial primary
Primary election
A primary election is an election in which party members or voters select candidates for a subsequent election. Primary elections are one means by which a political party nominates candidates for the next general election....

. The Beshear campaign's sparring with that of former Governor Brown, the second-place finisher in the primary, opened the door for political novice Wallace Wilkinson's well-financed campaign to achieve a come-from-behind upset in the race. For the next 20 years, Beshear practiced law at a Lexington
Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington is the second-largest city in Kentucky and the 63rd largest in the US. Known as the "Thoroughbred City" and the "Horse Capital of the World", it is located in the heart of Kentucky's Bluegrass region...

 law firm. His only foray into politics during this period was an unsuccessful challenge to Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell
Addison Mitchell "Mitch" McConnell, Jr. is the senior United States Senator from Kentucky and the Republican Minority Leader.- Early life, education, and military service :...

 in 1996
United States Senate election in Kentucky, 1996
The 1996 United States Senate election in Kentucky was held on November 5, 1996. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell won re-election to a third term.-Candidates:...

. In 2007, however, Beshear was drawn back into politics by the vulnerability of incumbent Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 Governor Ernie Fletcher
Ernie Fletcher
Ernest Lee "Ernie" Fletcher is a Republican politician from the U.S. state of Kentucky. In 1999, he was elected to the first of three consecutive terms in the United States House of Representatives; he resigned in 2003 after being elected the 60th governor of Kentucky and served in that office...

, whose administration was the subject of a protracted investigation by Attorney General Greg Stumbo
Greg Stumbo
Gregory D. "Greg" Stumbo is the Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives. Stumbo, a member of the Democratic Party, is a former Kentucky Attorney General from 2003 to 2007.-Early Career:...

 because of violations of the state's merit system
Merit system
The merit system is the process of promoting and hiring government employees based on their ability to perform a job, rather than on their political connections. It is the opposite of the spoils system.- History :...

. In the 2007 gubernatorial election
Kentucky gubernatorial election, 2007
The Kentucky gubernatorial election, 2007 was held on November 6, 2007. In this election, incumbent Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher lost to Democratic challenger Steve Beshear, who therefore began serving as Governor of Kentucky in December 2007 for a term through December 2011...

, Beshear emerged from a six-way Democratic primary – largely on the strength of his pledge to bring expanded casino
Casino
In modern English, a casino is a facility which houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities. Casinos are most commonly built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships or other tourist attractions...

 gambling to Kentucky – and defeated Fletcher in the general election. Beshear won re-election in 2011
Kentucky gubernatorial election, 2011
The 2011 Kentucky gubernatorial election took place to elect the governor of Kentucky on November 8, 2011. Incumbent Democrat Steve Beshear won re-election, defeating Republican challenger David L...

, defeating Republican David L. Williams
David L. Williams
David Lewis Williams is a lawyer and politician from the U.S. state of Kentucky. A Republican, he has represented Kentucky's 16th district in the Kentucky Senate since 1987. When Republicans gained control of the state senate in 2000, Williams was chosen as President of the Senate, and he has held...

 and Independent
Independent (politician)
In politics, an independent or non-party politician is an individual not affiliated to any political party. Independents may hold a centrist viewpoint between those of major political parties, a viewpoint more extreme than any major party, or they may have a viewpoint based on issues that they do...

 Gatewood Galbraith
Gatewood Galbraith
Louis Gatewood Galbraith is an American lawyer and author from the U.S. state of Kentucky. He has been a perennial candidate for governor of Kentucky as an outspoken proponent of education as well as privacy rights and other civil liberties...

.

Early life

Steve Beshear was born in Hopkins County, Kentucky
Hopkins County, Kentucky
Hopkins County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It was formed in 1807. As of 2000, the population was 46,519. Its county seat is Madisonville. The county is named for General Samuel Hopkins, an officer in both the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, and later a Kentucky legislator...

 on September 21, 1944. He was the third of five children born to Orlando Russell and Mary Elizabeth (Joiner) Beshear. He was raised in the small town of Dawson Springs
Dawson Springs, Kentucky
Dawson Springs is a city in Caldwell and Hopkins counties in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The population was 2,980 at the 2000 census. It is the birthplace of current governor of Kentucky, Steve L. Beshear. From the late 1800s to the 1930s, Dawson Springs was well known as a spa and resort town...

, where his father owned a furniture store, operated a funeral home
Funeral home
A funeral home, funeral parlor or mortuary, is a business that provides burial and funeral services for the deceased and their families. These services may include aprepared wake and funeral, and the provision of a chapel for the funeral....

, and served as mayor. His father, grandfather, and uncle were all Primitive Baptist
Primitive Baptist
Primitive Baptists, also known as Hard Shell Baptists or Anti-Mission Baptists, are conservative, Calvinist Baptists adhering to beliefs that formed out of the controversy among Baptists in the early 1800’s over the appropriateness of mission boards, bible tract societies, and temperance...

 lay ministers, and in his childhood years, Beshear attended both his father's church and the Christian Church
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
The Christian Church is a Mainline Protestant denomination in North America. It is often referred to as The Christian Church, The Disciples of Christ, or more simply as The Disciples...

 where his mother was a member. Beshear also accompanied his uncle, Fred Beshear, as he traveled around the county during several races for a seat in the state House of Representatives
Kentucky House of Representatives
The Kentucky House of Representatives is the lower house of the Kentucky General Assembly. It is composed of 100 Representatives elected from single-member districts throughout the Commonwealth. Not more than two counties can be joined to form a House district, except when necessary to preserve...

.

Beshear graduated as valedictorian
Valedictorian
Valedictorian is an academic title conferred upon the student who delivers the closing or farewell statement at a graduation ceremony. Usually, the valedictorian is the highest ranked student among those graduating from an educational institution...

 in a class of 28 at Dawson Springs High School in 1962. He then attended the University of Kentucky
University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky, also known as UK, is a public co-educational university and is one of the state's two land-grant universities, located in Lexington, Kentucky...

 where he earned a Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 degree in history in 1966. He was a member of the Delta Tau Delta
Delta Tau Delta
Delta Tau Delta is a U.S.-based international secret letter college fraternity. Delta Tau Delta was founded in 1858 at Bethany College, Bethany, Virginia, . It currently has around 125 student chapters nationwide, as well as more than 25 regional alumni groups. Its national community service...

 social fraternity and the Phi Beta Kappa honor society
Phi Beta Kappa Society
The Phi Beta Kappa Society is an academic honor society. Its mission is to "celebrate and advocate excellence in the liberal arts and sciences"; and induct "the most outstanding students of arts and sciences at America’s leading colleges and universities." Founded at The College of William and...

. He was also elected student body treasurer and from 1964 to 1965 served as student body president. While in college, he attended Lexington Primitive Baptist Church and often had lunch at the home of Harold and Marie Fletcher, whose son Ernie he would eventually challenge for the governorship of Kentucky.

In 1968, Beshear graduated with honors from the University of Kentucky College of Law
University of Kentucky College of Law
The College of Law is a college of the University of Kentucky. Founded initially from a law program at Transylvania University in 1799, the law program at UK began operations in 1908; it was one of the nation's first public law schools...

. He and his wife, the former Jane Klingner, were married in 1969. After the marriage, Beshear joined the Crestwood Christian Church where his wife attended. The couple have two sons, Jeffery Scott Beshear and Andrew Graham Beshear, two grandsons, and one granddaughter. Following their marriage, the Beshears moved to New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 where Steve worked for the Wall Street
Wall Street
Wall Street refers to the financial district of New York City, named after and centered on the eight-block-long street running from Broadway to South Street on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, or...

 law firm of White & Case
White & Case
White & Case was founded in New York in 1901 and has grown into one of the world's leading global law firms. The firm has since expanded, and has practice groups in emerging markets including Latin America, Central & Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, as well as in Europe...

. He also served as an intelligence specialist in the United States Army Reserve
United States Army Reserve
The United States Army Reserve is the federal reserve force of the United States Army. Together, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard constitute the reserve components of the United States Army....

, performing some of the duties of a judge advocate general
Judge Advocate General
In the United Kingdom, the Judge Advocate General and Judge Martial of all the Forces is a judge responsible for the court martial process within the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force.-Qualifications:...

. After two and a half years, the family returned to Kentucky, and Beshear joined the Lexington
Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington is the second-largest city in Kentucky and the 63rd largest in the US. Known as the "Thoroughbred City" and the "Horse Capital of the World", it is located in the heart of Kentucky's Bluegrass region...

 law firm of Harbison, Kessinger, Lisle and Bush. He went into practice for himself in 1974, then formed the law firm of Beshear, Meng, and Green, where he worked until his election as attorney general in 1979.

Early political career

In 1973, Beshear began his political career by being elected to represent the 76th District (Fayette County
Fayette County, Kentucky
Fayette County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. The population was 295,083 in the 2010 Census. Its territory, population and government are coextensive with the city of Lexington, which also serves as county seat....

) in the Kentucky House of Representatives
Kentucky House of Representatives
The Kentucky House of Representatives is the lower house of the Kentucky General Assembly. It is composed of 100 Representatives elected from single-member districts throughout the Commonwealth. Not more than two counties can be joined to form a House district, except when necessary to preserve...

. During his first term, his colleagues named him the outstanding freshman legislator. He was re-elected in 1975 and 1977; both campaigns featured close Democratic primaries between Beshear and Jerry Lundergan.

As a legislator, Beshear gained a reputation as a consumer advocate, and sponsored bills to increase environmental protections and end the practice of commercial bail bonding
Bail bondsman
A bail bond agent, or bondsman, is any person or corporation that will act as a surety and pledge money or property as bail for the appearance of persons accused in court...

. In 1974, Beshear voted against a resolution condemning the practice of desegregation busing because it called for changes to the federal constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

. One of his major accomplishments in the House was spearheading legislation to improve neonatal care at the University of Kentucky Medical Center
Chandler Medical Center
The Chandler Medical Center at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky comprises the following:* Centers of Excellence: This includes the Centers for Rural Health, Critical Care Centers, the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging among numerous other units....

. Although he considered a 1978 bill requiring the posting of the Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

 in Kentucky classrooms to be unconstitutional, he abstained from voting on it rather than voting against it, a move he later claimed he regretted.

Attorney General

Beshear was the first candidate to announce his bid for the post of Attorney General of Kentucky
Attorney General of Kentucky
The Attorney General of Kentucky is an office created by the Kentucky Constitution. . Under Kentucky law, he serves several roles, including the state's chief prosecutor , the state's chief law enforcement officer , and the state's chief law officer...

 in the 1979 election; shortly after declaring his candidacy, he was endorsed by outgoing Attorney General Robert F. Stephens. The central issue of Beshear's campaign was his pledge to be an advocate of the consumer in cases of proposed utility rate hikes. After winning the Democratic primary, he defeated Republican nominee Ron Snyder by a vote of 471,177 to 302,951. When incumbent Attorney General Stephens resigned in December 1979 to accept an appointment to the Kentucky Supreme Court
Kentucky Supreme Court
The Kentucky Supreme Court was created by a 1975 constitutional amendment and is the state supreme court of the commonwealth of Kentucky. Prior to that the Kentucky Court of Appeals was the only appellate court in Kentucky...

, Beshear was appointed to fill the vacancy until his term officially began in January. As attorney general, Beshear created the state's first Medicaid
Medicaid
Medicaid is the United States health program for certain people and families with low incomes and resources. It is a means-tested program that is jointly funded by the state and federal governments, and is managed by the states. People served by Medicaid are U.S. citizens or legal permanent...

 fraud division and his office took a leading role in the Leviticus Project, an eight-state coalition committed to prosecuting organized crime
Organized crime
Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, are...

 in the country's coal fields.

Two minor controversies marked Beshear's tenure as attorney general. The first came in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

's ruling in the 1980 case of Stone v. Graham
Stone v. Graham
Stone v. Graham, , was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that a Kentucky statute requiring the posting of a copy of the Ten Commandments, purchased with private contributions, on the wall of each public classroom in the State, was unconstitutional, in violation of the...

. The ruling struck down the state law requiring the posting of the Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

 in all of the state's classrooms on grounds that it violated the Establishment Clause
Establishment Clause of the First Amendment
The Establishment Clause is the first of several pronouncements in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, stating, Together with the Free Exercise Clause The Establishment Clause is the first of several pronouncements in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,...

 of the federal constitution. State Superintendent
Superintendent (education)
In education in the United States, a superintendent is an individual who has executive oversight and administration rights, usually within an educational entity or organization....

 Raymond Barber asked the Supreme Court to clarify whether its ruling meant that all of the copies of the Commandments already posted had to be taken down or whether it simply invalidated the Kentucky requirement for them to be posted; the Court refused the request for clarification. Beshear then issued an advisory opinion that displaying the Commandments in classrooms under any circumstances was banned by the Court's ruling.

The second controversy arose as a result of the renovation of the governor's mansion
Kentucky Governor's Mansion
The Kentucky Governor's Mansion is an historic residence in Frankfort, Kentucky. It is located at the East lawn of the Capitol, at the end of Capital Avenue...

. Kentucky first lady
First Lady
First Lady or First Gentlemanis the unofficial title used in some countries for the spouse of an elected head of state.It is not normally used to refer to the spouse or partner of a prime minister; the husband or wife of the British Prime Minister is usually informally referred to as prime...

 Phyllis George Brown created the Save the Mansion Fund to help cover the costs of the renovation. When the renovation was complete, she planned a nine-day showcase of the mansion for the general public. Guests were charged $10 to take a tour of the mansion. Legislator Eugene P. Stuart
Eugene P. Stuart
Eugene P. Stuart was a Republican and a longtime member of the Kentucky General Assembly. He was the Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky on a ticket headed by Jim Bunning in 1983.- Biography :...

 objected to taxpayers being charged a fee to view a mansion their tax dollars supported. He asked Beshear to protest the charge, and Beshear requested an injunction against the Save the Mansion Fund. A Lexington judge refused to grant the injunction, and Beshear appealed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals
Kentucky Court of Appeals
The Kentucky Court of Appeals is the lower of Kentucky's two appellate courts, under the Kentucky Supreme Court. Prior to a 1975 amendment to the Kentucky Constitution the Kentucky Court of Appeals was the only appellate court in Kentucky....

, which upheld the lower court's decision. Beshear's actions caused a rift between him and Governor John Y. Brown, Jr.
John Y. Brown, Jr.
This article is about one of four John Young Browns, from Kentucky, that have served political office. For others see: John Young Brown ...


Lieutenant Governor

Limited to one term
Term limits in the United States
Term limits in the United States apply to many offices at both the federal and state level, and date back to the American Revolution.-Pre-constitution:...

 as attorney general by the state constitution
Kentucky Constitution
The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the document that governs the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It was first adopted in 1792 and has since been rewritten three times and amended many more...

, Beshear declared his candidacy for lieutenant governor
Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky
The office of lieutenant governor of Kentucky has existed under the last three of Kentucky's four constitutions, beginning in 1797. The lieutenant governor serves as governor of Kentucky under circumstances similar to the Vice President of the United States assuming the powers of the presidency...

 in 1983. In a seven-candidate Democratic primary in May, Beshear captured 183,662 of the 575,022 votes cast to defeat a field that included former state Auditor George L. Atkins, Jefferson County
Jefferson County, Kentucky
As of the census of 2000, there were 693,604 people, 287,012 households, and 183,113 families residing in the county. The population density was . There were 305,835 housing units at an average density of...

 judge executive
County Judge/Executive
A County Judge/Executive is an elected official in the U.S. state of Kentucky who is the head of the executive branch of a government in a county. The Judge/Executive is an ex officio member of the Fiscal Court, the county's legislature...

 Todd Hollenbach, Agriculture Commissioner Alben Barkley II, and former Kentucky Wildcat basketball
Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball
The Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team, representing the University of Kentucky, is the winningest in the history of college basketball, both in all-time wins and all-time winning percentage. Kentucky's all-time record currently stands at 2058–647...

 star Bill Spivey
Bill Spivey
William "Bill" Spivey was an American basketball player. A center, he played college basketball for the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Kentucky Wildcats from 1949 to 1951. After his high school career, Spivey was recruited to the University of Kentucky...

. In the general election, Beshear faced Republican Eugene Stuart and Don Wiggins, who became the nominee of the newly-formed Consumers Lobby Party after losing in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Stuart categorized Beshear as being too liberal
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

 for Kentucky, citing his opinion in the Ten Commandments case, as well as his support for abortion rights and gun control. Beshear denied he advocated gun control and charged that Stuart, a state senator from Jefferson County, had not shown any leadership worthy of election to the lieutenant governor's office. Beshear easily defeated Stuart by a vote of 568,869 to 321,352; Wiggins captured just 7,728 votes.

Several changes were proposed to the office of lieutenant governor during Beshear's tenure. In 1984, state Representative Bobby Richardson proposed a constitutional amendment to abolish the office. When that effort failed, Richardson introduced a bill in the 1986 General Assembly that would have revoked the lieutenant governor's right to live rent-free in the state's Old Governor's Mansion
Old Governor's Mansion (Frankfort, Kentucky)
The Old Governor's Mansion, also known as Lieutenant Governor's Mansion, is located at 420 High Street, Frankfort, Kentucky. It is reputed to be the oldest official executive residence officially still in use in the United States, as the mansion is the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor...

, eliminated his or her police protection, and restricted his or her use of the state's two executive helicopters. The measure would also have eliminated the lieutenant governor's salary, paying him or her per diem
Per diem
Per diem refers to a specific amount of money that an organization allows an individual to spend per day, to cover living and traveling expenses in connection with work...

for days served as acting governor or president of the state senate
Kentucky Senate
The Kentucky Senate is the upper house of the Kentucky General Assembly. The Kentucky Senate is composed of 38 members elected from single-member districts throughout the Commonwealth. There are no term limits for Kentucky Senators...

 instead; the measure would further have lifted the ban on the lieutenant governor holding other employment. Although the bill would have exempted Beshear from its provisions, Beshear still opposed it and charged that it was politically motivated. Richardson had expressed interest in running for lieutenant governor in the past, and Beshear claimed that because he was never elected to the office, he "doesn't want anybody else to have it." Richardson denied that his efforts were a political ploy; he claimed the office was largely ceremonial and served only as a stepping stone to the governorship. Three of the previous four lieutenant governors had subsequently been elected governor, including sitting governor Martha Layne Collins
Martha Layne Collins
Martha Layne Collins is a politician from the US state of Kentucky. From 1983 to 1987 she was the 56th Governor of Kentucky, having served the previous four years as lieutenant governor. She was Kentucky's first and only female governor to date...

.

Despite opposing Richardson's changes to the office, Beshear conceded that the provision of the state constitution that made him acting governor every time Governor Collins left the state was "archaic". During its 1987 organizational session, the General Assembly relieved the lieutenant governor of his membership on the committees that assigned bills to other committees and that managed the flow of legislation on the Senate floor. Later that year, a subcommittee of the Commission on Constitutional Review proposed requiring the governor and lieutenant governor to run as a ticket
Ticket (election)
A ticket refers to a single election choice which fills more than one political office or seat. For example, in the U.S., the candidates for President and Vice President run on the same "ticket", because they are elected together on a single ballot question rather than separately.A ticket can also...

 and combining the office with that of the secretary of state. These recommendations were not acted on during Beshear's term.

During his service as lieutenant governor, Beshear formed and chaired the Kentucky Tomorrow Commission, a privately-financed group assembled to make recommendations for the state's future growth and development. The 30-person commission was formed in July 1984 and presented its report – containing more than 100 recommendations – in September 1986. Among the recommendations in the commission's report were several changes to the state constitution, adopted in 1891. The recommended changes included eliminating the offices of state treasurer, secretary of state and superintendent of public instruction, holding elections only in odd-numbered years instead of every year, and raising the term limit for the state's constitutional officers from one term to two consecutive terms. The state legislature showed little interest in calling a constitutional convention, however, and the commission's recommendations were not immediately adopted, though several have since been implemented. Other recommendations in the commission's report included the creation of lifelong learning
Lifelong learning
Lifelong learning is the continuous building of skills and knowledge throughout the life of an individual. It occurs through experiences encountered in the course of a lifetime...

 programs, implementation of criminal justice reforms, and improvements in worker training. The commission was hailed by some as the most substantial undertaking by a lieutenant governor to date, but was panned by others as a move by Beshear to better position himself for a run for governor in 1987.

Among Beshear's other activities as lieutenant governor was his participation in an investigation of Kentucky Utilities
Kentucky Utilities
Kentucky Utilities is based in Lexington, Kentucky and provides electricity to 77 counties in Kentucky. KU also serves five counties in Virginia under the name Old Dominion Power. It is owned by LG&E and KU Energy, LLC, which, in turn, is owned by PPL Corporation.-History:Kentucky Utilities was...

' coal-buying practices. At issue was whether it was legal and ethical for the company's coal buyer to accept gifts and other perks from coal suppliers. Beshear had clashed with the company over similar issues during his term as attorney general. The company attempted to block Beshear's participation in the investigation, but the Kentucky Public Service Commission
Kentucky Public Service Commission
The Kentucky Public Service Commission is a public utilities commission, a quasi-judicial regulatory tribunal, whichregulates the intrastate rates and services of investor-owned electric, natural gas, telephone, water and sewage utilities, customer-owned electric and telephone cooperatives, water...

 rejected the attempt. Due to the length of the investigation and the number of appeals filed, the matter was not fully adjudicated until 1992, well past the end of Beshear's term. The Kentucky Supreme Court
Kentucky Supreme Court
The Kentucky Supreme Court was created by a 1975 constitutional amendment and is the state supreme court of the commonwealth of Kentucky. Prior to that the Kentucky Court of Appeals was the only appellate court in Kentucky...

 ultimately ruled in favor of Kentucky Utilities.

In 1987, Beshear entered a crowded Democratic gubernatorial primary that included former governor Julian Carroll
Julian Carroll
Julian Morton Carroll is a politician from the US state of Kentucky. A Democrat, he is presently a member of the Kentucky Senate, representing Anderson, Franklin, Woodford, and part of Fayette counties. From 1974 to 1979, he served as the 54th Governor of Kentucky, succeeding Wendell H. Ford, who...

, millionaire bookstore magnate Wallace Wilkinson, and Eastern Kentucky physician Grady Stumbo. Beshear had the backing of the Collins administration and the endorsement of several labor
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 leaders and the state teachers' association; he appeared to be the front-runner in the race until former governor John Y. Brown, Jr. entered late and became the instant favorite. Beshear spent much of the campaign running ads that blasted Brown for his jet-setting lifestyle including, the ads claimed, his "wild nights in Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

". Brown countered with ads claiming that Beshear was distorting the facts and could not be trusted. Both Beshear and Brown claimed the other would raise taxes if he were elected. The feud between Beshear and Brown allowed Wilkinson, who was last among the candidates according to polls as late as February 1987, to launch his own blitz of ads claiming both Beshear and Brown would raise taxes and proposing a state lottery
Kentucky Lottery
The Kentucky Lottery, consisting of various games of chance, is a government-regulated form of gambling. The Lottery began in April 1989 after a November 1988 vote in which over 60% of voters cast ballots in favor of it. On April 4, 1989, ticket sales began with first day sales of over $5 million...

 as an alternative means of raising funds for the state. In the final days of the campaign, Wilkinson surged past both Brown and Beshear and captured 221,138 votes to win the primary; Beshear finished third with 114,439, trailing Brown (163,204 votes) but leading Stumbo (84,613 votes), Carroll (42,137 votes), and three minor candidates.

Political interim and 1996 Senate bid

After his defeat in the 1987 election, Beshear moved to a 35 acres (141,640.1 m²) farm in Clark County
Clark County, Kentucky
Clark County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It was formed in 1793. The population was 35,613 in the 2010 Census. Its county seat is Winchester, Kentucky...

. He resumed his career as a lawyer, joining the 125-member Lexington law firm of Stites and Harbison. He handled several high-profile cases such as the bankruptcy
Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organisation, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor....

 of Calumet Farm
Calumet Farm
Calumet Farm is a Thoroughbred breeding and training farm established in 1924 in Lexington, Kentucky, United States by William Monroe Wright, founding owner of the Calumet Baking Powder Company. Calumet is located in the heart of Lexington's blue grass country, the finest horse breeding region in...

 and the liquidation of the Kentucky Central Insurance Company
Kentucky Central Insurance Company
Kentucky Central Life Insurance Company was one of the largest Life Insurance companies in the United States, writing policies in 49 states and the District of Columbia until its collapse in 1993...

. He underwent successful surgery to treat prostate cancer
Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly...

 in 1994.

Beshear did little in the political arena for almost a decade after his 1987 primary defeat, but in late 1995, he was encouraged by Democratic leaders – including former governor Ned Breathitt
Edward T. Breathitt
Edward Thompson "Ned" Breathitt, Jr. was a politician from the US state of Kentucky. A member of one of the state's political families, he was the 51st Governor of Kentucky, serving from 1963 to 1967...

, Senator Wendell H. Ford
Wendell H. Ford
Wendell Hampton Ford is a retired politician from the U.S. state of Kentucky. He served for twenty-four years in the U.S. Senate and was the 53rd Governor of Kentucky. He was the first person to be successively elected lieutenant governor, governor, and U.S. senator in Kentucky history...

, and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is the Democratic Hill committee for the United States Senate. It is the only organization solely dedicated to electing Democrats to the United States Senate. The DSCC's current chair is Sen. Patty Murray, who succeeded Sen. Robert Menendez following...

 chair Bob Kerrey
Bob Kerrey
Joseph Robert "Bob" Kerrey was the 35th Governor of Nebraska from 1983 to 1987 and a U.S. Senator from Nebraska . Having served in the Vietnam War, earning the Medal of Honor for his actions, he moved into politics. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992...

 – to challenge incumbent Republican Senator Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell
Addison Mitchell "Mitch" McConnell, Jr. is the senior United States Senator from Kentucky and the Republican Minority Leader.- Early life, education, and military service :...

. Beshear entered the primary as a heavy favorite against Tom Barlow
Thomas Barlow (politician)
Thomas Jefferson "Tom" Barlow III , a Democrat, represented Kentucky in the United States House of Representatives for one term.Barlow was born in Washington, DC, but grew up in Louisville, Kentucky...

, a former one-term Congressman
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 from Kentucky's First District
Kentucky's 1st congressional district
Kentucky's 1st congressional district is a congressional district in the U.S. state of Kentucky. Located in Western Kentucky, the district takes in Henderson, Hopkinsville, Madisonville, Paducah, and the college town of Murray....

, and Shelby Lanier, a retired Louisville police officer. During the primary campaign, Beshear virtually ignored Barlow and Lanier and focused his rhetoric on McConnell. Despite Barlow's tour of all 120 Kentucky counties, Beshear cruised to victory in the primary, garnering 177,859 votes to Barlow's 64,235 and Lanier's 25,856.

Beshear faced heavy deficits in polls against McConnell throughout the general election campaign. McConnell also raised twice as much money as Beshear during the campaign. Beshear tried to make McConnell's fundraising a campaign issue, claiming much of the money came from political action committee
Political action committee
In the United States, a political action committee, or PAC, is the name commonly given to a private group, regardless of size, organized to elect political candidates or to advance the outcome of a political issue or legislation. Legally, what constitutes a "PAC" for purposes of regulation is a...

s that represented interests that lobbied the Senate committees on which McConnell served. McConnell defended his contributors, saying that the right to free speech included the right to donate money. Beshear charged that Republicans, including McConnell, had voted to cut Medicare
Medicare (United States)
Medicare is a social insurance program administered by the United States government, providing health insurance coverage to people who are aged 65 and over; to those who are under 65 and are permanently physically disabled or who have a congenital physical disability; or to those who meet other...

; McConnell responded that Republicans had not cut Medicare, but had put forward a plan to curb its growth, a plan that didn't differ significantly, McConnell said, from the one proposed by Democratic President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

.

The campaign turned personal during the second of two debates between the two candidates when McConnell charged that the Iroquois Hunt Club, to which Beshear belonged, had no African-American members and was racially discriminatory. Beshear denied that the club was discriminatory and fired back that a prominent McConnell supporter from Louisville was "virulently anti-women." McConnell countered that Beshear had taken money from a labor union group that was under investigation for links to organized crime. After the debate, it was revealed that the Pendennis Club, of which McConnell had been a member, was under investigation for discriminatory membership practices; McConnell claimed he had resigned his membership in the club after perceiving that it practiced discrimination, but did not express his reasons for resigning to the club's membership or leadership. Ultimately, none of Beshear's arguments gained much traction, and he lost the race by a vote of 560,012 to 724,794 for McConnell. It was the largest victory margin of McConnell's career. In a 2009 biography of McConnell, author John David Dyche wrote that Beshear "had no illusions about his chance of success [in the race against McConnell], but for the sake of his party, and hoping to ride the coattails of President Clinton's likely re-election, he got in the race." After the book's release, Beshear said through a spokesman that Dyche's assessment "sounds accurate."

Beshear continued his legal practice at Stites and Harbison following his defeat by McConnnell. In 2001, the firm was hired to represent creditors in a bankruptcy case against Wallace Wilkinson, Beshear's opponent in the 1987 gubernatorial primary. The firm also represented four creditors of Wallace's Bookstore, the company through which Wilkinson had made his fortune. Wilkinson unsuccessfully sought to have the firm removed from the case, citing a potential conflict of interest
Conflict of interest
A conflict of interest occurs when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other....

 stemming from his old political rivalry with Beshear. The case was eventually settled in 2002, four months after Wilkinson's death.

2007 gubernatorial campaign

On December 18, 2006, Beshear announced that he would enter the 2007 gubernatorial race with Hazard
Hazard, Kentucky
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,806 people, 1,946 households, and 1,266 families residing in the city. The population density was 684.6 people per square mile . There were 2,291 housing units at an average density of 326.4 per square mile...

 physician and state senator Daniel Mongiardo
Daniel Mongiardo
Frank Daniel Mongiardo is an American physician and politician from Kentucky. Mongiardo is a Democrat and has been Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky since 2007. He was a member of the Kentucky State Senate from 2001 to 2007. He also ran for the U.S...

 as his running mate
Running mate
A running mate is a person running together with another person on a joint ticket during an election. The term is most often used in reference to the person in the subordinate position but can also properly be used when referring to both candidates, such as "Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen were...

. Beshear promised to return "integrity" to the governor's office, a slap at sitting governor Ernie Fletcher
Ernie Fletcher
Ernest Lee "Ernie" Fletcher is a Republican politician from the U.S. state of Kentucky. In 1999, he was elected to the first of three consecutive terms in the United States House of Representatives; he resigned in 2003 after being elected the 60th governor of Kentucky and served in that office...

, who was seeking re-election despite a recently-concluded investigation into his administration's hiring practices conducted by Democratic Attorney General Greg Stumbo
Greg Stumbo
Gregory D. "Greg" Stumbo is the Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives. Stumbo, a member of the Democratic Party, is a former Kentucky Attorney General from 2003 to 2007.-Early Career:...

. At the time, the only other declared Democratic candidates were state treasurer Jonathan Miller and Harlan
Harlan, Kentucky
Harlan is a city in Harlan County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 2,081 at the 2000 census and was estimated at 1,880 in 2007. It is the county seat of Harlan County.-History:...

 contractor Otis Hensley, Jr., who only ran a limited campaign. By the filing deadline, the list of Democratic challengers had grown to include Louisville millionaire businessman Bruce Lunsford
Bruce Lunsford
William Bruce Lunsford is an American Democratic politician from Kentucky. He has served various roles in the Kentucky Democratic Party including, Party treasurer, Deputy Development Secretary, and Head of Commerce...

, former lieutenant governor Steve Henry, Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives Jody Richards
Jody Richards
Jody Richards is a Democratic member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, representing the 20th District since 1976 and former speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives.-Biography:...

, and perennial candidate
Perennial candidate
A perennial candidate is one who frequently runs for public office with a record of success that is infrequent, if existent at all. Perennial candidates are often either members of minority political parties or have political opinions that are not mainstream. They may run without any serious hope...

 Gatewood Galbraith
Gatewood Galbraith
Louis Gatewood Galbraith is an American lawyer and author from the U.S. state of Kentucky. He has been a perennial candidate for governor of Kentucky as an outspoken proponent of education as well as privacy rights and other civil liberties...

.

Early polls showed that Beshear and Henry led the Democratic field in name recognition, but both trailed Fletcher and his Republican primary rival Anne Northup
Anne Northup
Anne Meagher Northup is an American Republican politician from the state of Kentucky. From 1997 to 2007, she represented the Louisville-centered 3rd congressional district of Kentucky in the United States House of Representatives, where she served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee...

 in that area. Early in the campaign, Beshear attempted to set himself apart from the other candidates by supporting a constitutional amendment that would allow expanded casino gambling in the state, which he claimed could generate $500 million in new revenue without the need to raise taxes. Observers noted that this strategy was remarkably similar to the one used by Wallace Wilkinson who, in his 1987 primary victory over Beshear and others, trumpeted the revenue a state lottery would generate. Initially, all of the Democratic candidates except Hensley endorsed a casino amendment, but as Beshear made it the centerpiece of his campaign, support from other candidates began to waver; Richards officially changed his position to oppose the amendment, while several other candidates charged that Beshear was staking too much of his platform on a proposal that was not guaranteed to pass.

In April 2007, Beshear received the endorsement of former Governor Brereton Jones
Brereton Jones
Brereton Chandler Jones is a horse breeder and politician from the US state of Kentucky. From 1987 to 1991, he served as lieutenant governor of Kentucky and from 1991 to 1995, he was the state's 58th governor...

. Just two weeks before the primary, candidate Jonathan Miller dropped out of the race and endorsed Beshear. Miller, who was consistently lagging in the polls, indicated that he was endorsing Beshear in order to prevent an "unelectable" candidate from becoming the Democratic Party's nominee for the fall campaign. He later admitted that comment was aimed at Lunsford, who dropped out of the 2003 Democratic gubernatorial primary and in the general election endorsed Fletcher over Democrat Ben Chandler
Ben Chandler
Albert Benjamin "Ben" Chandler III is the U.S. Representative for , serving since a special election in 2004. He is a member of the Democratic Party.-Early life, education and career:...

, and at Henry, who faced allegations of illegal medical billing and improper campaign financing. Buoyed by these endorsements, Beshear surged ahead and won the primary; he garnered 40.9 percent of the vote, just enough to avoid a costly runoff election
Two-round system
The two-round system is a voting system used to elect a single winner where the voter casts a single vote for their chosen candidate...

 with Lunsford, the second place finisher.

Incumbent governor Fletcher emerged from the Republican primary, and Beshear immediately looked to make the investigation against Fletcher the primary issue of the campaign. Fletcher countered by strengthening his opposition to Beshear's casino expansion plan. In June 2007, Fletcher backed off an earlier commitment to let Kentuckians vote on casino gambling amendment; a campaign staffer told reporters that "The voters will have their chance to decide this issue in [the] November [election]. To put it on the ballot would be redundant." Fletcher's choice to make casino gambling the centerpiece of the campaign proved ineffective. After months of campaigning on the issue, a SurveyUSA
SurveyUSA
SurveyUSA is a polling firm in the United States. It conducts market research for corporations and interest groups, but is best known for conducting opinion polls for various political offices and questions...

 poll showed that Fletcher had gained only 6 percentage points on Beshear and still trailed him by 16 percentage points. Further, polling showed that more than half of the state's voters believed Fletcher had acted unethically with regard to the claims in the hiring investigation while 81% believed the casino gambling amendment should be placed on the ballot. Late in the campaign, eight of Kentucky's leading newspapers endorsed Beshear. Ultimately, Beshear was elected by a vote of 619,567 to 435,856.

Governorship

Soon after taking office, Beshear ordered $78 million in budget cuts, citing a $434 million projected deficit in the state budget. Republican Senate President
President of the Kentucky Senate
President of the Kentucky Senate is an office created by a 1992 amendment to the Constitution of Kentucky. The President of the Senate is the highest ranking officer of that body and presides over the Senate.-History of the office:...

 David Williams
David L. Williams
David Lewis Williams is a lawyer and politician from the U.S. state of Kentucky. A Republican, he has represented Kentucky's 16th district in the Kentucky Senate since 1987. When Republicans gained control of the state senate in 2000, Williams was chosen as President of the Senate, and he has held...

 questioned the legality of the cuts, claiming that the shortfall was only $117.5 million and that $145 million in surplus funds from the previous fiscal year would cover the difference. Beshear countered that the legislature had already authorized $138 million in expenditures from the surplus fund and that his reckoning of the deficit also included $300 in "additional spending needs". Williams stopped short of filing a legal challenge to the cuts, but warned Beshear that the General Assembly would closely monitor the cuts and override any they disagreed with by passing modifications to the 2006–2008 budget after the commencement of the legislative session in February.

Beshear was dealt the first political setback of his term in the special election to fill the state Senate seat of his lieutenant governor, Daniel Mongiardo. Despite a 2-to-1 voter registration advantage in the district for the Democrats and the fact that both Beshear and Mongiardo campaigned heavily for Democratic nominee Scott Alexander, Republican Brandon Smith captured the open seat by 401 votes. The loss by Alexander was the most expensive in state legislative history and gave Republicans a 22–15 advantage over the Democrats in the state senate; the chamber also included one Independent
Independent (politician)
In politics, an independent or non-party politician is an individual not affiliated to any political party. Independents may hold a centrist viewpoint between those of major political parties, a viewpoint more extreme than any major party, or they may have a viewpoint based on issues that they do...

.

2008 legislative session and special session

Much of the debate in the 2008 legislative session centered on crafting a budget for the 2008–2010 biennium, a period when the state was projected to encounter a shortfall of nearly $1 billion. Beshear expressed surprise that the budget issues consumed so much of the Assembly's time during the session, but admitted that the legislature had become much more independent of the governor than it was when he was a legislator two decades earlier. He listed early childhood education and expanded health care for children among the priorities that he was unable to address in the session.

On February 15, 2008, Beshear unveiled his promised legislation that would allow casino gambling in Kentucky. Beshear's plan included a constitutional amendment allowing 12 casinos to be licensed in the state – seven at each of the state's horse racetracks and five additional free-standing casinos – and a companion bill specifying how the increased revenues would be spent. After the plan encountered initial resistance, House leadership reduced the number of casinos that would have been allowed to by the amendment to nine. One proposal, authored by House Speaker Jody Richards, would have guaranteed five casino licenses to the state's racetracks and allowed the other four to go to free-standing casinos. A competing measure, drafted by House Majority Whip
Whip (politics)
A whip is an official in a political party whose primary purpose is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. Whips are a party's "enforcers", who typically offer inducements and threaten punishments for party members to ensure that they vote according to the official party policy...

 Rob Wilkey
Rob Wilkey
Robert D. "Rob" Wilkey was a Democratic member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, representing the 22nd District since 1996. He served as Majority Whip.-External links:* official government site* profile*Follow the Money - Rob Wilkey...

 and Speaker
Speaker (politics)
The term speaker is a title often given to the presiding officer of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body. The speaker's official role is to moderate debate, make rulings on procedure, announce the results of votes, and the like. The speaker decides who may speak and has the...

 Pro Tem
Pro tempore
Pro tempore , abbreviated pro tem or p.t., is a Latin phrase which best translates to "for the time being" in English. This phrase is often used to describe a person who acts as a locum tenens in the absence of a superior, such as the President pro tempore of the United States Senate.Legislative...

 Larry Clark
Larry Clark (Kentucky politician)
Lawrence D. "Larry" Clark is a Democratic member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, representing the 46th District since 1984. He is the Speaker Pro Tempore.-External links:* official Kentucky Legislature site* from KentuckyVotes.org...

, would have allowed all nine licenses to be awarded competitively, with none specifically reserved for racetracks. In late February, the House Elections, Constitutional Amendments, and Intergovernmental Affairs committee failed to advance either proposal to the full floor of the House of Representatives. The following day, Speaker Richards removed Representative Dottie Sims from the committee; Sims claimed Richards retaliated against her for voting against the proposals, but Richards said he removed Sims because she told him she would vote for the proposals and then voted against them. Following Sims' removal the committee passed the amendment.

The casino legislation was not called to a vote in the Democratic controlled Kentucky House of Representatives, where 60 votes out of 100 would have been required for passage. Beshear announced that his proposal for a constitutional amendment to allow for casinos was dead for the regular session on March 27, 2008. Among the other proposals favored by Beshear that failed to pass in the session were an ethics reform measure Beshear proposed in the wake of the investigation of the Fletcher administration, a plan to reduce the projected shortfall in the state's pension system, and a proposed 70-cent-per-pack tax increase on cigarette
Cigarette
A cigarette is a small roll of finely cut tobacco leaves wrapped in a cylinder of thin paper for smoking. The cigarette is ignited at one end and allowed to smoulder; its smoke is inhaled from the other end, which is held in or to the mouth and in some cases a cigarette holder may be used as well...

s. Besides the state budget, major legislation passed during the session included incentives for homeowners and businesses to utilize energy efficiency measures, anti-bullying legislation, and increased penalties for animal cruelty
Cruelty to animals
Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse or animal neglect, is the infliction of suffering or harm upon non-human animals, for purposes other than self-defense. More narrowly, it can be harm for specific gain, such as killing animals for food or for their fur, although opinions differ with...

.

In the final hours of the legislative session, both houses of the General Assembly resorted to the controversial practice of stopping the clocks in their respective chambers a few minutes before midnight in order to avoid the constitutionally-mandated deadline for the end of the session – midnight on April 15. The Assembly then passed twelve bills between midnight and 1 o'clock on April 16 before adjourning. Among those bills was House Bill 79, which provided funding and direction for the state's road-building plan for the next six years. The bill was delivered to Beshear later in the day, and he veto
Veto
A veto, Latin for "I forbid", is the power of an officer of the state to unilaterally stop an official action, especially enactment of a piece of legislation...

ed it on April 26. With the General Assembly unable to reconvene and override the veto, Senate President David Williams filed suit, claiming Beshear's veto was invalid because it was not issued within 10 days of the bill's passage. Williams' reasoning was based on the fact that, according to the legislative record, the bill was passed on April 15. Beshear counter-sued, claiming the bill was actually passed on April 16 and thus invalid to begin with. On July 31, 2008, a Lexington judge sided with Beshear, invalidating the law and declaring that the General Assembly would no longer be allowed to use the practice of stopping the clocks; he did not rule on the validity of the other bills passed after the session expired.

Dissatisfied that the General Assembly had not acted to shore up the state pension system, Beshear called a special legislative session for July 23, 2008 after House and Senate leaders informed him that they had reached an agreement on a plan after the regular legislative session's end. The session lasted five days, the minimum amount of time required to maneuver the bill through the legislative process.

Other matters of 2008

Following the legislative session, Beshear began to address his agenda related to energy production. In April 2008, he announced that he would divide the state's Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet to form a new Energy and Environmental Cabinet. The move essentially reversed the consolidation of Environmental, Public Protection, and Labor Cabinets effected under Beshear's predecessor, Ernie Fletcher. Later in the year, Beshear released what he called the state's first-ever comprehensive energy plan. The plan called for expansion of solar
Solar power
Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar radiation, along with secondary solar-powered resources such as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass, account for most of the available...

, wind
Wind power
Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy, such as using wind turbines to make electricity, windmills for mechanical power, windpumps for water pumping or drainage, or sails to propel ships....

, and biomass
Biomass
Biomass, as a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel....

 energy generation, as well as more speculative ventures such as coal gasification
Coal gasification
Coal gasification is the process of producing coal gas, a type of syngas–a mixture of carbon monoxide , hydrogen , carbon dioxide and water vapour –from coal...

 and carbon capture and sequestration. Although the plan called for an exploration of the use of nuclear power
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

, Beshear stopped short of advocating an end to the state's ban on the construction of nuclear reactors.

Hoping to attract a proposed ZAP
ZAP (motor company)
ZAP is an electric vehicle company that designs, produces and markets vehicles including automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles, scooters, personal watercraft, hovercraft, ATVs, neighborhood electric vehicles and commercial vehicles. The name stands for Zero Air Pollution...

 electric vehicle
Electric vehicle
An electric vehicle , also referred to as an electric drive vehicle, uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion...

 manufacturing plant to the city of Franklin, Kentucky
Franklin, Kentucky
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,996 people, 3,251 households, and 2,174 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,074.7 people per square mile . There were 3,609 housing units at an average density of 485.1 per square mile...

, Beshear issued an executive order permitting low-speed vehicles on many Kentucky roads in August 2008. The state also offered the company $48 million in tax incentives, contingent upon its delivering a promised 4,000 jobs. Construction of the proposed plant stalled, however, when GE Capital
GE Capital
GE Capital is the financial services unit of General Electric, one of five major units. Its various divisions include GE Capital Aviation Services, GE Capital Real Estate, GE Energy Financial Services and GE Money....

, a primary investor, pulled out of the project. ZAP officials maintained their intention to build the plant, but said they would also consider other states' proposals if they could not replace the $125 million commitment from GE.

Beshear clashed with the state Council on Postsecondary Education over its hiring of Brad Cowgill as its president. Beshear said state law required that the Council conduct a national search for its president and that they hire someone with experience and an established reputation in higher education; he claimed that Cowgill, a Lexington lawyer and state budget director for former Governor Fletcher, was not qualified for the position and that the council hired him without a national search. Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway
Jack Conway (politician)
John William “Jack” Conway is an American politician from Kentucky. Conway is a Democrat and has served as the Attorney General of Kentucky since 2008. Prior to his election as attorney general, he was a candidate in the 2002 U.S. House of Representatives election for , narrowly losing to Anne...

 issued a non-binding opinion that the hiring was illegal under state law, and Cowgill resigned rather than wage a legal battle with Beshear. Beshear, who had considered asking all of the council members to resign or abolishing the council altogether in favor of a new one, praised Cowgill's decision. Democratic House Budget Committee Chairman Harry Moberly said Cowgill "had the council headed in the right direction" and added "I would have been satisfied if Brad had the permanent position, but I do not criticize the governor for the role he had played [in Cowgill's resignation]." Senate President David Williams called Beshear's interference in the matter "unfortunate".

In September 2008, Beshear's administration attempted to seize control of 141 gambling-related domain names in an attempt to block Kentucky residents from accessing those websites. Beshear claimed the sites were conducting illegal, unregulated gambling operations in the state and providing untaxed competition to the state's horse racing industry. Later that year, a Franklin County
Franklin County, Kentucky
As of the census of 2000, there were 47,687 people, 19,907 households, and 12,840 families residing in the county. The population density was . There were 21,409 housing units at an average density of...

 judge ruled that Beshear had the authority to seize the domain names, but the Kentucky Court of Appeals overturned that ruling on appeal. Beshear appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court, partially on grounds that the web site owners were being represented by gambling associations and players groups who Beshear said had no legal standing in the case. In 2010, the Kentucky Supreme Court agreed with Beshear and ordered the web site owners themselves to appear before the court. As of August 2010, the case was still in adjudication.

2009 legislative session

During the organizational session of the 2009 General Assembly, House Speaker Jody Richards was ousted by House Democrats by a three-vote margin in favor of former Majority Leader
Floor Leader
Floor Leaders are leaders of their political parties in each of the houses of the legislature.- Senate :In the United States Senate, they are elected by their respective party conferences to serve as the chief Senate spokesmen for their parties and to manage and schedule the legislative and...

 and Attorney General Greg Stumbo. Some speculated that Beshear had personally interfered on behalf of Stumbo, a charge he denied. When asked about Beshear's alleged interference, Richards refused to comment.

Due to the state's worsening economy, the primary issue facing the legislature for the session was a $456 million budget shortfall. Expanded gambling was again proposed as a possible source of revenue, and a bill to allow slot machine
Slot machine
A slot machine , informally fruit machine , the slots , poker machine or "pokies" or simply slot is a casino gambling machine with three or more reels which spin when a button is pushed...

s at the state's racetracks passed the House Licensing and Occupations Committee, but died in the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee. Speaker Stumbo expressed doubt that he had enough votes to pass the measure even if it were brought to the House floor. Instead, the Assembly passed a series of tax bills to deal with the shortfall. The Assembly also began the process of reforming the state's system of school accountability testing, a move advocated by Beshear. Other bills passed during the session revised the state road plan to allocate newly-available federal stimulus funds
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, abbreviated ARRA and commonly referred to as the Stimulus or The Recovery Act, is an economic stimulus package enacted by the 111th United States Congress in February 2009 and signed into law on February 17, 2009, by President Barack Obama.To...

, created a program to divert accused substance abuse
Substance abuse
A substance-related disorder is an umbrella term used to describe several different conditions associated with several different substances .A substance related disorder is a condition in which an individual uses or abuses a...

rs to treatment before their trials, and created a statewide database for tracking payday loan
Payday loan
A payday loan is a small, short-term loan that is intended to cover a borrower's expenses until his or her next payday. The loans are also sometimes referred to as cash advances, though that term can also refer to cash provided against a prearranged line of credit such as a credit card...

s.

The rules of the House of Representatives required that the final two days of the chamber's session be reserved for overriding any vetoes by the governor. Beshear hoped that the House would suspend the rules
Suspension of the rules
Suspension of the rules in the United States Congress is the specific set of procedures within the United States Congress that allows for the general parliamentary procedure notion of how and when to suspend the rules.-Overview:...

, as they had in previous years, in order to consider bills to increase funding to public defender
Public defender
The term public defender is primarily used to refer to a criminal defense lawyer appointed to represent people charged with a crime but who cannot afford to hire an attorney in the United States and Brazil. The term is also applied to some ombudsman offices, for example in Jamaica, and is one way...

s, create a transportation authority to oversee bridge-building projects in Louisville and Henderson
Henderson, Kentucky
Henderson is a city in Henderson County, Kentucky, United States, along the Ohio River in the western part of the state. The population was 27,952 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Evansville Metropolitan Area often referred to as "Kentuckiana", although "Tri-State Area" or "Tri-State" are more...

, and provide various economic incentives, including a package intended to lure a NASCAR
NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

 Sprint Cup Series race to Kentucky Speedway
Kentucky Speedway
Kentucky Speedway is a tri-oval speedway in Sparta, Kentucky, which has hosted ARCA, NASCAR and Indy Racing League racing annually since it opened in 2000. The track is currently owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports, Inc. and Jerry Carroll, who, along with four other investors, owned...

. The House refused to suspend the rules, however, citing its desire to receive legislation in a timely manner in the future. The chamber allowed Beshear's one veto to stand and adjourned a day early.

Other matters of 2009 and special legislative session

Following the 2009 legislative session, Attorney General Jack Conway was asked to issue advisory opinions on two gambling-related issues. Republican state senator Damon Thayer asked for an opinion as to whether "instant racing" – allowing individuals to bet on the outcome of previously-run horse races – would be allowable under the state constitution. Democratic Representative Jody Richards also asked for an advisory opinion as to whether a constitutional amendment was required to allow video lottery terminal
Video Lottery Terminal
A Video Lottery Terminal or VLT is a gaming machine that allows gamblers to bet on the outcome of a video game.A VLT is similar to a slot machine, in that each terminal is a stand-alone device containing a random-number generator...

s at the state's racetracks or whether they could be construed as legal under the amendment that allowed a state lottery. Critics charged that Conway had a conflict of interest in the matter because his father was a member of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, but Conway denied that a conflict existed, and the state Executive Branch Ethics Board refused to take a position unless an official request for an investigation were made. Conway subsequently opined in June 2009 that video lottery terminals would be legal if governed by the Kentucky Lottery Corporation and in January 2010 that instant racing would be allowable under the state's parimutuel betting
Parimutuel betting
Parimutuel betting is a betting system in which all bets of a particular type are placed together in a pool; taxes and the "house-take" or "vig" is removed, and payoff odds are calculated by sharing the pool among all winning bets...

 statutes with a few regulatory changes.

In an effort to cut costs, the Kentucky State Police
Kentucky State Police
The Kentucky State Police is a department of the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. The department was founded in 1948 and replaced the Kentucky Highway Patrol...

 announced in May 2009 that it would only offer the state driving test
Driving test
A driving test is a procedure designed to test a person's ability to drive a motor vehicle. It exists in various forms worldwide, and is often a requirement to pass the exam to obtain a driver's license...

 in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 beginning June 1, 2009. The test had previously been offered in 22 foreign languages, but the state police said that the foreign language versions of the test had not been updated to reflect recent changes to driving laws. Two days later, Beshear announced the reversal of the state police's new policy, saying he was not informed of it and believed it was the wrong thing to do. He promised the foreign language versions of the test would be updated and would continue to be offered.

In April 2009, Beshear announced a partnership between the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville
University of Louisville
The University of Louisville is a public university in Louisville, Kentucky. When founded in 1798, it was the first city-owned public university in the United States and one of the first universities chartered west of the Allegheny Mountains. The university is mandated by the Kentucky General...

, and Chicago-based Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne National Laboratory is the first science and engineering research national laboratory in the United States, receiving this designation on July 1, 1946. It is the largest national laboratory by size and scope in the Midwest...

 to construct a research facility in Lexington to develop advanced battery technologies that could be used to power electric cars. A week later, the National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Battery Cell Manufacture
National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Battery Cell Manufacture
The National Alliance for Advanced Transportation Battery Cell Manufacturewas formed in December 2008 as an alliance between 14 battery makers and the Argonne National Laboratory to improve the competitiveness of the American battery industry and to expedite the development of advanced lithium ion...

 announced they would locate a battery manufacturing plant in Hardin County
Hardin County, Kentucky
As of the census of 2000, there were 94,174 people, 34,497 households, and 25,355 families residing in the county. The population density was . There were 37,673 housing units at an average density of...

, citing the nearby research facility as an incentive for choosing Kentucky over competing sites. The venture, however, was predicated upon receiving $342 million in federal stimulus funds; in August 2009, those funds were denied, and officials conceded it was unlikely that the plant would be built.

Beshear called another special legislative session in June 2009 to address another $1 billion shortfall in the state budget. Later, Beshear amended the call to include the economic incentives package that was not approved during the regular session and, in light of Attorney General Conway's opinion on video lottery terminals, a measure to expand gambling in the state by statute. With the threshold lowered from 60 votes for a constitutional amendment to 51 votes for a statute, the House of Representatives passed the expanded gambling bill, but the measure died in the Republican-dominated Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee by a 10–5 vote. The amended budget and the economic incentives bills both passed in the 10-day session.

Again unable to get his expanded gambling proposal past the Senate, Beshear attempted to chip away at the Republican majority in that chamber by appointing some Republican senators to lucrative positions in the executive and judicial branches in advance of the 2010 General Assembly. Shortly after the special session, Beshear named Republican Senator Charlie Borders to the state Public Safety Commission. That appointment set up a special election for Borders' seat, which was won by Democrat Robin Webb, reducing the Republican majority to 20–17 with one Independent who usually voted with the Republicans. Following Webb's victory, Beshear appointed Republican Senator Dan Kelly to a circuit judgeship, but Republicans held on to that seat in a special election.

2010 legislative and special sessions

Early in the 2010 legislative session, Beshear presented his biennial budget proposal to the General Assembly. The state projected a $1.5 billion shortfall for the biennium, and Beshear once again proposed to make up for the shortfall with revenue generated from expanded gambling. Days after Beshear presented the proposal, both House Speaker Stumbo and Senate President Williams declared all gambling legislation "dead" for the session, saying there was no political will in either chamber to pass such legislation ahead of the legislative elections in November. The process of crafting a budget consumed the vast majority of the Assembly's time during the session, but legislators reached the constitutionally-mandated end of their session with no agreement. Announcing his intent to call a special session to pass a budget and prevent a state government shutdown, Beshear blasted the leadership of both chambers for discarding his budget proposal. "[W]riting their own budget would be their 'defining moment'," Beshear said the legislators had claimed. "Well, it was. A moment of abject failure." Beshear said expanded gambling would not be on the agenda for the special session unless an agreement were reached before the session date. In May 2010, legislators reconvened and passed a budget. Beshear utilized his line-item veto
Line-item veto
In United States government, the line-item veto, or partial veto, is the power of an executive authority to nullify or cancel specific provisions of a bill, usually a budget appropriations bill, without vetoing the entire legislative package...

 on 19 items in the budget, claiming they restricted his ability to implement the reduction in executive expenses mandated by the budget. Legislators were unable to override the vetoes because the special session had already adjourned.

In July 2010, Beshear announced six mandatory, unpaid furlough
Furlough
In the United States a furlough is a temporary unpaid leave of some employees due to special needs of a company, which may be due to economic conditions at the specific employer or in the economy as a whole...

 days for most state employees in order to achieve the savings called for by the budget. Later in the month, Beshear announced exceptions from the furlough for public safety and mental health care workers. The American Federation of County State and Municipal Employees (AFCSME) Council 62, which represents about 9,000 of Kentucky's state workers, filed suit to block implementation of the furloughs. A Franklin County Circuit Court Judge refused to issue an injunction in September 2010, but allowed the lawsuit to proceed. A month later, AFCSME agreed to drop the suit and address the furlough issue through Beshear's Employee Advisory Council. Ultimately, all six furlough days were observed as outlined in Beshear's plan.

2011 legislative and special sessions

In the lead-up to the 2011 legislative session, state senator and former governor Julian Carroll
Julian Carroll
Julian Morton Carroll is a politician from the US state of Kentucky. A Democrat, he is presently a member of the Kentucky Senate, representing Anderson, Franklin, Woodford, and part of Fayette counties. From 1974 to 1979, he served as the 54th Governor of Kentucky, succeeding Wendell H. Ford, who...

 declared, "In all the years I've been around the Capitol, I can't recall people expecting so little from a legislative session." Carroll's pessimism was the result of Senate President David Williams' announcement that he would challenge Beshear in the upcoming gubernatorial election, which Carroll believed would disincentivize cooperation betweent the two leaders.

Among the items passed in the legislative session were a bill allowing optometrists to perform eye surgery (a procedure usually reserved for opthomologists), a ban on the sale of a hallucenagenic drug marketed as "bath salts", and a measure allowing community supervision and addiction treatment as jail alternatives for non-violent drug criminals. Measures that did not pass included tougher measures to curb illegal immigration advocated by Williams and raising the legal age for dropping out of high school from sixteen to eighteen, a proposal supported by Beshear. Also, the Assembly was unable to agree on whether to adopt Beshear's plan to address a shortfall in the state's Medicaid
Medicaid
Medicaid is the United States health program for certain people and families with low incomes and resources. It is a means-tested program that is jointly funded by the state and federal governments, and is managed by the states. People served by Medicaid are U.S. citizens or legal permanent...

 obligations or an alternative plan proposed by Williams. Beshear's plan involved moving $166 million from the second year of the biennial budget to cover the shortfall and cover the costs in the second year through savings achieved by switching to a managed care
Managed care
...intended to reduce unnecessary health care costs through a variety of mechanisms, including: economic incentives for physicians and patients to select less costly forms of care; programs for reviewing the medical necessity of specific services; increased beneficiary cost sharing; controls on...

 plan for Medicaid. Williams' plan, passed by the Republican majority in the state senate, called for $101 million in cuts to state government spending to cover the shortfall. Without a plan in place, Beshear estimated that the state would have to cut Medicaid reimbursements to health care providers by 30 percent.

Immediately following the end of the legislative session, Beshear called for a special legislative session to consider a way to meet the state's Medicaid obligations and whether or not to raise the minimum dropout age. In the special session, both houses approved a plan that allowed Beshear to move the funds from the second year of the budget, but triggered automatic spending cuts if the managed care plans did not generate sufficient savings. The bill also called for the hiring of an independent accounting firm to assess the savings achieved by the managed care plans. Beshear then used his line-item veto to strike the spending cuts and the savings assesssment provisions, per a previous arrangement with Democratic lawmakers. By eliminating these provisions, the version of the bill signed by Beshear was essentially the plan he had proposed during the regular session.

Legislators also approved raising the minimum dropout age to 18 during the special session. Following the session, the National Educators Association honored Beshear with its America's Greatest Education Governor Award for 2011, citing his advocacy for raising the minimum dropout age and his consistent refusal to cut education funding.

2011 gubernatorial campaign



On January 26, 2009, Lieutenant Governor Daniel Mongiardo announced that he would seek the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Senator Jim Bunning
Jim Bunning
James Paul David "Jim" Bunning is an American former Major League Baseball pitcher and politician.During a 17-year baseball career, he pitched from 1955 to 1971, most notably with the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies. When he retired, he had the second-highest total of career...

 in the 2010 senatorial election
United States Senate election in Kentucky, 2010
The 2010 United States Senate election in Kentucky took place on November 2, 2010 alongside other elections to the United States Senate in other states as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections. Primaries for each respective party were...

. The move effectively prohibited Mongiardo from running for re-election with Beshear in the 2011 gubernatorial contest. On July 19, 2009, Beshear announced that Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

 mayor Jerry Abramson would replace Mongiardo as his running mate in his re-election campaign.

Beshear faced no opposition in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, held on May 17, 2011. In the Republican primary, Senate President David Williams defeated Louisville businessman Phil Moffett, a favorite of the Tea Party Movement
Tea Party movement
The Tea Party movement is an American populist political movement that is generally recognized as conservative and libertarian, and has sponsored protests and supported political candidates since 2009...

, and Bobbie Holsclaw, county clerk of Jefferson County
Jefferson County, Kentucky
As of the census of 2000, there were 693,604 people, 287,012 households, and 183,113 families residing in the county. The population density was . There were 305,835 housing units at an average density of...

. Perennial candidate Gatewood Galbraith will seek the governorship as an Independent after collecting the requisite 5,000 signatures from registered voters requesting that his name be added to the ballot.

On November 8, 2011, Beshear was reelected as governor of Kentucky with close to 56% of the vote in a three way race. On the same night Democrats won all but one of the statewide offices.

Ancestors



External links

  • Office of Governor Steve Beshear, Commonwealth of Kentucky official state site
  • Beshear/Abramson 2011 official campaign site
  • Profile from SourceWatch
    SourceWatch
    SourceWatch is an internet wiki site that is a collaborative project of the liberal Center for Media and Democracy...

  • Collected news at the The Courier-Journal
    The Courier-Journal
    The Courier-Journal, locally called "The C-J", is the main newspaper for the city of Louisville, Kentucky, USA. According to the 1999 Editor & Publisher International Yearbook, the paper is the 48th largest daily paper in the United States and the single largest in Kentucky.- Origins :The...

  • Collected news at The Cincinnati Enquirer
    The Cincinnati Enquirer
    The Cincinnati Enquirer, a daily morning newspaper, is the highest-circulation print publication in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. The Cincinnati Enquirer, a daily morning newspaper, is the highest-circulation print publication in Greater Cincinnati (Ohio) and Northern Kentucky. The...


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