On a cold Monday morning on January 4, 2016 at 11 o’ clock AM, the Commonwealth of Kentucky swore in her newly elected constitutional officers to a full Capitol Rotunda of elected officials and family members, special guests, and citizens from all over the bluegrass. Every four years the commonwealth witnesses a peaceful transition of power free of conflict and battle, save negative ads on TV during the campaign. Entering into the Capitol building at 10, it was dreary, overcast, and cold.
Governor and Lt. Governor Matt Bevin and Jenean Hampton were joint emcees to the ceremony, with prepared remarks at the beginning of the program. “I look forward to serving with you. At the end of the day, we serve KY.” said Gov. Bevin. His remarks were free of political rhetoric and sought to instruct those being sworn in to put politics aside and work to serve the people of the Commonwealth. Possibly hearkening back to the days of the Fletcher Administration, Bevin also said that as Kentuckians we are to let our light shine in service.
Dr. Everett McCorvey, professor of voice at the University of Kentucky, sang a rendition of “This Little Light of Mine” before the proceedings began. Which raises the question:
Will conservative values shine bright once again in our Kentucky home? Will these principles see the light of day in the next four years?
As officials were sworn in, some on family Bibles, some not, each made remarks.
Alison Lundergan Grimes, said that in her next four years as Secretary of State she will seek to further move the office into the 21st century with electronic voter registration, and reinstating non-violent felons’ right to vote, either by executive order or by legislation. Lundergan-Grimes may have been pushing the new Governor to consider an executive order to mend this civil rights issue. Gov. Bevin has stated publicly that this issue should be solved in the legislature. However, in her speech she made sure to pay tribute to the late Carol Palmore, a well known and established Democrat, and her personal mentor Sen. Julian Carrol (D-Frankfort). Quoting former Gov. Carrol, “government is about compromise”. One has to consider how going back to the past will propel our state forward.
Andy Beshear, in his remarks said that his next four years will seek to be, “the Peoples Lawyer” who’s mission is to be the chief advocate for the Kentucky Family. Fighting to see that no child or senior be abused or neglected, to see that victims of rape receive justice, and to work toward solutions to Kentucky’s drug epidemic. Striking an almost trial lawyer tone in his remarks, one can’t help but to consider how Kentucky’s Chief Advocate could also fight for Kentucky’s families by working with a governor to stop Obamacare and the Kynect program which will collapse under it’s own weight, the EPA’s war on coal and the jobs coal mining provides, not to mention the economies that are driven by coal. Could there be more than one way to fight for Kentucky’s Families?
Mike Harmon, in his remarks simply thanked his family, his wife, and his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the support and love during the campaign, and quoted his father, who said, “that we must all take responsibility for our actions and not give up.” Could Auditor Harmon be indicating future discovery of malfeasance in our state and that he will make sure that people will take responsibility?
Finally, Ryan Quarles, the youngest elected statewide official in the country, spoke of his pleasure and honor to serve the commonwealth and that his task was before him a daunting one. As a farmer himself, he made sure that the audience knew this job was personal to him. He thanked God for being his compass and for the support of his family. Of his office, he wants to work to make the Agriculture Commissioner even more accountable, transparent, and innovative in Kentucky, things which, “will make Kentucky Proud”.
It seems that the stage is set for the next four years in Kentucky. In the next four years, will we see our pension system fixed for good, right to work a reality, charter schools a component of our education system, a budget based on sound accounting principles, and our state’s medicaid system redesigned for the good of our poorest citizens? It seems that we have a good team of people ready to work on these issues.
In a ceremony bookended by song, Dr. Everett McCorvey sang “The Impossible Dream” from the musical Man of La Mancha. It’s lyrics melodic and catchy, might have sent a mighty message to the commonwealth:
To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause
And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star
As I left the Capitol Building in Frankfort, the dark overcast clouds had yielded their space in the sky to make way for the sun to shine bright on the campus of the Capitol complex warming the grounds and the ambient temperature, which had risen slightly this January day. Perhaps, as the sun shone brightly at the conclusion of the ceremony, the commonwealth our conservative philosophy will shine bright in Kentucky once more.