Beshear says he's leaving state in much better shape than he fou - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Beshear says he's leaving state in much better shape than he found it

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In Frankfort Tuesday, Beshear talked about leading the state through an economic meltdown, a controversial expansion of healthcare and social upheaval. In Frankfort Tuesday, Beshear talked about leading the state through an economic meltdown, a controversial expansion of healthcare and social upheaval.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) – Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says he's leaving the state in much better shape than he found it.

In Frankfort Tuesday, Beshear talked about leading the state through an economic meltdown, a controversial expansion of healthcare and social upheaval.

“It has been both the most challenging time of our lifetime as well as the most rewarding time of our lifetime,” said Beshear.

After eight years, Steve Beshear's name will soon no longer hang from the door outside the Governor's Office.

In an exit interview at the Governor's Mansion, he and First Lady Jane Beshear looked back at the highs and lows. The most difficult time was the 2009 ice storm that crippled the state.

“People were really just devastated, and we just had to start from scratch to get the state back up on its feet and to try to make sure our people were safe,” said Beshear.

Beshear says biggest regret is no progress on comprehensive tax reform, and the failure to build a coalition to pass expanded gambling.

“It was like herding a bunch of cats. You never could get them all circled around one wagon and supporting one idea,” he said.

He said his biggest frustration was inheriting a half-billion dollar budget deficit and having to make cuts as the national economy melted down, but then leading the state to recovery.

“We now have some tremendous momentum in so many areas that affect the quality of life of Kentuckians,” said Beshear.

And then there was the Kim Davis same sex marriage controversy. Beshear says he would have done nothing different in ordering county clerks to comply with the Supreme Court ruling,

“I think most Kentuckians feel like they had their day in court. They got to take it all the way up, and the Supreme Court made their decision. They may not like it, but that's the law of the land and it's time to move on,” said Beshear.

The signature accomplishment, says Beshear, and perhaps the most controversial, embracing Obamacare by setting up the health insurance exchange, Kynect, and expanding Medicaid.

“Today for the first time, we can say that every single Kentuckian has access to affordable healthcare. That, in a generation, will make a huge difference in the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Beshear.

As the Capitol prepares for the inauguration of a new governor, Beshear says he's leaving behind a state in much better shape than he found it.

“He [Bevin] will probably have to cut some things in order to invest in other things he wants to do. But he's going to have more money to do that with than I've had any time in my administration. And I'm glad,” said Beshear.

And in one last tease, Beshear says don't be surprised if the new downtown bridge gets a name before he leaves office on Dec. 7.

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