New Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin promises "fresh start" in inaugurat - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin promises "fresh start" in inauguration speech

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – In his first public address as Kentucky’s 62nd governor, Republican Matt Bevin promised a “fresh start” and outlined a raft of goals that include charter schools and eliminating the state’s health care exchange.

Bevin’s remarks, delivered on the steps of the Kentucky State Capitol, were part pep talk and part policy speech. He challenged the state’s residents to practice the “Golden Rule” and change the tone of politics. At one point, he led the crowd in chants of the state motto: “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.”

“This is our Kentucky. This is our opportunity,” Bevin said. “This is our ability to become the greatest version of ourselves that we can possibly be. But it is going to come from each and every one of you.”

He rattled off statistics showing Kentucky’s low financial, workforce and education rankings but insisted, time and again, that “Kentucky is better than that.”

After saying he didn’t want to spend “a lot of time” on policy in his address, he spoke for more than five minutes on issues he plans to tackle as governor.

Bevin said his administration will audit all of the state’s pension plans and promised “hard decisions and we will save our pension plans for those that have earned them.”

He pledged changes that will modernize and simplify the state’s tax code, abolishing the inventory and estate taxes.

“We’re going to get rid of the very things that, frankly, send the message to the outside world that we’re not serious about being a business-friendly state,” Bevin said.

To applause, Bevin promised to fight against “federal overreach” by regulatory agencies, continuing a theme from his campaign that targeted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

He said Kentucky will exercise its sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment and “we’re going to do what is correct and best for the people of Kentucky.”

He also repeated his plan to shut down the state’s “redundant” Kynect health care exchange next year – one of former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear’s crowning achievements.

With Indiana Republican Gov. Mike Pence in attendance, Bevin said he will use Indiana as a blueprint for renovating Kentucky’s Medicaid program. He pledged to bring charter schools to the state and promised action to streamline state government, telling those in attendance to “stay tuned.”

Bevin has named heads of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, the Energy and Environment Cabinet, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, the Personnel Cabinet and the Labor Cabinet.

He has yet to name a new or interim Transportation Secretary, among other positions.  

Bevin took more than 52 percent of the vote in winning the race for governor in only his second campaign for public office, defeating former Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, a Democrat, and Independent Drew Curtis.

The governor was sworn in at a private ceremony around midnight Monday. The public inauguration ceremony on Tuesday included appearances from actor Jon Voight, a Bevin friend who rode in the parade; singer Lee Greenwood, who sang “God Bless the USA”; and Dakota Meyer, a Kentuckian who received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Speaking on the Capitol steps, Meyer specifically praised Bevin, an Army veteran, for his position opposing Syrian refugees resettling in Kentucky.

“It’s decisions like delaying the implementation of the relocation of Syrian refugees that verifies my confidence that we now have a man taking control that puts Kentuckians’ best interest and safety foremost in his decision-making process,” Meyer said.

Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton, who is the first African-American in Kentucky history to hold statewide office, told the crowd that she and Bevin have a vision for state that will help all of its citizens.

“We see Kentucky as being vibrant – the vibrant Commonwealth that it’s meant to be, that it could be and we’re not there yet,” she said. “But we’re certainly relishing the challenge of shaping Kentucky and moving it forward.”

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