Andy Beshear Kentucky Governor Acceptance Speech Transcript
In an upset victory, Democrat Andy Beshear won a governor election in Kentucky over incumbent Republican Matt Bevin. This was a couple of days after Donald Trump held a rally in Kentucky supporting Matt Bevin. Read the full transcript of Beshear’s acceptance speech here on Rev.com.
Andy Beshear: (00:04)
Thank you, Kentucky! Let me first start by thanking my running mate, Jacqueline Coleman. You are an incredible friend, an amazing running mate, and I know you’re going to be a phenomenal Lieutenant Governor. Tonight, voters in Kentucky sent a message, loud and clear, for everyone to hear. It’s a message that says our elections don’t have to be about right versus left. They are still about right versus wrong. That our values, and how we treat each other, is still more important than our party. That what unites us as Kentuckians is still stronger than any national divisions.
Andy Beshear: (01:31)
And tonight, I think we showed this country that in Kentucky, we can disagree with each other while still respecting one another. In this commonwealth, a commonwealth that I love, we believe in lifting each other up instead of tearing each other down. And here in Kentucky, we can still fight, from the very top levels of government, for every family, including the lost, the lonely, and the left behind.
Andy Beshear: (02:19)
I haven’t had an opportunity yet to speak to Governor Bevin, but my expectation is that he will honor the election that was held tonight, that he will help us make this transition. And I tell you what, we will be ready for that first day in office, and I look forward to it. Let me say that while this was a very hard-fought election, I know elections are difficult on families. So let’s all wish this governor and his family the very best. We can do that.
Andy Beshear: (03:14)
I stand here tonight grateful, grateful to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and its voters. Grateful. But I got to start by thanking the people in my life who truly drive me, my family, for their love and inspiration. I want to thank my wife, Britainy, your next First Lady. And let me tell ya, I know another First Lady pretty well, and I believe Britainy is going to be one of the best that we have ever had. And I have to thank my two kids, Will and Lila. You all are my reason for living. Everything I do, I think about you. I love you all so much. I need to thank a couple parents who raised me. I want thank my mom and dad, Jane and Steve Beshear, for their love and support, their service, their amazing service, they gave to this commonwealth.
Andy Beshear: (05:06)
Tonight, I want to say thank you to our union families that helped make this election happen. I want to thank the FOP, the Fraternal Order of Police. I want to thank our educators. You. To our educators, your courage to stand up and fight against all the bullying and name calling helped galvanize our entire state.
Andy Beshear: (06:23)
I’ll never forget the first couple years that I was in office as your attorney general were a little bit hard. There were days that I came to work, and I felt like that last soldier of Rome. But I put on that armor and I stepped up to the front line, each and every day, until 12,000 reinforcements came to the capitol. To our educators, I know so many of you worked hard on this campaign. And I appreciate every single hour that each of you, and that all of our nearly 3000 volunteers, spent knocking on doors.
Andy Beshear: (07:19)
And while I believe that Jacqueline said it, let me be very clear. To our educators, this is your victory. From now on, the doors of your state capitol will always be opened. We will treat each other with dignity and respect, and we will honor our commitments to our public servants. We will make sure that promises made are promises kept. And we will work day and night to do as much good as we can, however we can.
Andy Beshear: (08:19)
So while I want everybody to have a lot of fun tonight, after tonight, this election is over. After tonight, we move forward, with every other Kentucky citizen, as Team Kentucky. Team Kentucky is a team whose mission is rooted in our shared values of faith, hard work, and a belief in a bigger, brighter tomorrow. These Kentucky values transcend any and all party lines. I am committed, committed to be a governor for everyone. That means rural and urban Kentucky, Eastern, Western, Northern, and Central Kentucky. It means being a governor for every Democrat, every Republican, and every Independent, every single Kentuckian.
Andy Beshear: (09:29)
To those watching, if I did not earn your vote today, rest assured, I will work hard to earn your trust, and even more importantly, I will always strive to do the right thing. Because I didn’t run for this office just to be governor. I ran for this office because I want to govern well. As your next governor, I will listen more than I talk. I will work with anyone who has a good idea that we can deliver for Kentuckians. With all the partisan bickering and nastiness that we’re seeing in politics, we have an opportunity to do better, right here in Kentucky.
Andy Beshear: (10:38)
We are facing big challenges, but I know that we are up to them. I ran on kitchen table issues, and I will govern focused on those same challenges of good jobs, healthcare for every Kentuckian, protecting and funding our pensions, and always supporting public education. I believe that we have a brighter tomorrow to make Kentucky the agritech leader of this country. We’re going to build our advanced manufacturing sector and invest in workforce training. That’s how we’re going to create good jobs, all over Kentucky, in every single community.
Andy Beshear: (11:31)
In my first week in office, I’m going to rescind this governor’s Medicaid waiver. We are going to give this state a brand new Board of Education. And we are going to restore the voting rights of more than 140,000 citizens. Every day, we’re going to work to expand access to healthcare, and we are going to fight to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Healthcare is a basic human right, and my administration will treat it as such. Under our administration, a pension is a promise. There will be no more going after the pensions of our teachers, social workers, and first responders. They have earned that retirement.
Andy Beshear: (12:51)
And public education will be the central priority of my administration. We are going to invest in our public schools because we believe in the next generation of Kentuckians. Our schools are the foundation of our communities. Every kid has the right to get a world-class education that opens up every door that they can walk through.
Andy Beshear: (13:29)
And we can only provide those opportunities by ensuring that we fulfill our commitment to our teachers, that are going to help lead us to that next, great Kentucky. One of those teachers is Laura, who is here tonight. Laura has committed her career to helping kids at risk of falling behind. She’s lost several close family members to the opioid epidemic, including her mom and her brother. Her child has a preexisting condition. Laura gets up every day at 4:30 AM and goes to teach a full day, yet on many week nights, and after the school day is over, and on most weekends, she drives an Uber to make ends meet. This victory is for Laura.
Andy Beshear: (14:33)
And it is a victory for the thousands of Kentuckians like her, folks that work so hard every single day, that give back to their communities, and that help their neighbors. I’m going to be a governor that is on their side. So tonight, the election is over, but next month, we start a brand new chapter, here in Kentucky. And that is a chapter where every family, every individual, and every single Kentuckian truly counts. Thank you all so much. (singing)
All right. We’ve been listening to Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Andy Beshear, in a race that, at this hour, is too close to call. Let’s bring in our Caitlin Huey-Burns on the phone. She’s a CBSN political reporter. Caitlin, so we are looking at the numbers there. A razor-thin margin between these two candidates, Andy Beshear and Governor Matt Bevin. What stood out to you or what stands out to you at this point in the night?
Caitlin B.: (16:05)
That’s right. The reason we were looking at this race was because this is a state that Trump won by about 30 points. It’s a deep conservative state. And the idea that there was a really tight governor’s race, prompting Trump to actually have to go to Kentucky to campaign for the incumbent Republican, raised all sorts of questions about what the national environment was and whether we would see a reaction on the ground to the current president, to the impeachment inquiry, and to other issues.
Caitlin B.: (16:35)
I will say, though, that we have to kind of look at a variety of different factors here. First, the attorney general, elected statewide tonight, was a Republican. And Republicans won all of the other seats that were up tonight as well. So it’s not … We’re not seeing a statewide reaction. This governor’s race is still very close. And you also heard, during Beshear’s acceptance speech … And we should note that Bevin has not conceded and may be calling for a recount … that he talked about a lot of local issues.
Caitlin B.: (17:10)
And there’ve been a couple of things going on in Kentucky that have been making the incumbent, Governor Bevin, really unpopular. He’s one of the most unpopular governors in the country. He was sparring with teachers over pension plans. He was wanting to cut the Medicaid expansion in the state, which would have a huge impact on uninsured Americans in Kentucky. And so you heard Beshear there, talking about those issues and really trying to make this about local, economic, kitchen table issues and not kind of the broader politics that we’ve been seeing across the country. So that’s something important to point out.
Caitlin B.: (17:53)
And we’re still kind of waiting for the final results here. But I think Democrats will say that this is an opportunity for voters to, when they show up, to overturn Republicans, especially if they have good turnout in suburban areas, areas that they are trying to convert the Republicans back to … over back to the party, to the Democratic Party. And I think Republicans will look at this as a deeply unpopular governor, will try to say that this doesn’t have an impact on Trump, and that this was about other things, and not necessarily a national mood.