Whitesburg KY

Beshear appears at campaign event held here

A large crowd of Letcher County Democrats were in Whitesburg last week to show their support for the Beshear/ Mongiardo ticket in this fall’s gubernatorial race. Although lieutenant governor candidate and Hazard physician Daniel Mongiardo was detained by a last minute call to perform emergency surgery, Steven Beshear delighted the packed house with politically charged oratory while warning the audience of a tough campaign to come.

“We have three or four months of a hard campaign against an incumbent governor with a lot of money to spend,” said Beshear. “The race will probably get ugly. They will tell lies about us but we’ll just tell the truth about them. That will be a lot uglier than anything they can make up about us.”

Beshear told the largely Democratic group, which was joined by several of the county’s more prominent Republicans, that his decision to run for governor became solidified when Daniel Mongiardo agreed to be his running mate. He said choosing the right running mate is of critical importance and Mongiardo is the right man to help get the state back on track.

“Is it time to end the nightmare we’ve had for four years?” asked Beshear. “Four years of scandal. Throw them out and get government back into the hands of the people. Elections are about leadership and we have had four years of failed leadership. The basis of leadership is values.”

Beshear spent very little time on what has become his signature issue of casinos and instead spoke with conviction about the importance of education in Kentucky. He told the crowd he had come from working class roots in western Kentucky but had received a good education and became a successful attorney in Lexington after being named valedictorian of his Dawson Springs high school class and graduating from the University of Kentucky and the UK Law School. Beshear said he had lived his “American dream” and now wants to make it possible for other Kentuckians to live theirs. He said education should be the highest priority in the state and the low rankings to which Kentucky has lately returned after briefly rising in national rankings in the 1990s do not have to be the way of the future.

“Being 45th (in national educational rankings) doesn’t have to be the way it is,” said Beshear. “We can be at the top of the heap instead of the bottom of the heap. You need a governor who will make education a top priority in the state.”

Beshear said he would support efforts at developing and implementing clean coal technology. He said he was raised in the western Kentucky coalfields and was familiar with a coal-based economy. He also acknowledged environmental concerns and said he would make sure they were addressed.

Beshear also spoke about the need to make health care available to all Kentuckians. He said that 550,000 people in Kentucky do not have health insurance and that 81,000 are children. He said he and Mongiardo would make health care a high priority and pledged that Kentucky would have adequate health care by the time they left office. He also cautioned Democrats not to get too complacent with his opponent, Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s low approval ratings and said getting the vote out will be extremely important.

“Unless we win in November, all our good ideas will fail,” said Beshear. “Early polls put us ahead but the bad news is this is August and not November. After all the money is spent, I have never seen an election that wasn’t won by people in precincts and communities getting people out to vote. If you can come together and do that for us we will have a great victory in November that will lift the state and lift Letcher County.”

Wayne Fleming, who represents the Fifth Magisterial District on the Letcher County Fiscal Court, hosted the combination fund-raiser and social/informational event which was held at the Whitesburg Shriners’ building. Fleming welcomed the crowd and praised the organization and preparations made by Sheila Holbrook and the Letcher County Democratic Committee.

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