Steve Beshear was elected Governor of Kentucky in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011.
During his 5½ years as Governor, he has brought Kentucky successfully through the historic recession by making Kentucky a leader in job creation. The state ranked second in the nation for export growth in the first half of 2013. With more than $12.1 billion in exports so far, Kentucky’s exports are up 12.6 percent from last year’s mid-point total. The state’s growth significantly outpaces the national average of 1 percent for the first half of the year.
In 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked Kentucky second in the nation for job growth rate over the past year, with a net increase of 2.6 percent. That growth is more than double the rate of nearby competitor states. From September 2011 to September 2012, 47,000 jobs were created in the Commonwealth.
Kentucky now ranks third in the nation in mid-year auto production numbers, trailing only Ohio and Michigan as a top vehicle producing state. Kentucky’s automotive industry today boasts more than 450 motor vehicle-related facilities across the state, including four major assembly plants.
In addition, Kentucky is now a national leader in education reform, becoming the first state in the nation to adopt the Common Core Standards. The Governor and First Lady Jane Beshear spearheaded a successful push to raise Kentucky’s dropout age from 16 to 18 years old. With initiatives spanning from early childhood and kindergarten to college and career readiness, Gov. Beshear has demonstrated a commitment to improving education for all Kentuckians.
Governor Beshear supported landmark legislation to curb prescription drug abuse. One year later, the results have been closings of non-compliant pain management clinics and a drop in the number of prescriptions for heavily-abused controlled substances. For the first time in a decade, the number of Kentucky deaths blamed on prescription overdoses has declined.
Earlier this year, Gov. Beshear announced the inclusion of 308,000 more Kentuckians in the federal Medicaid health insurance program, and launched the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange. The Medicaid expansion, together with the creation of the exchange, will ensure that, for the first time in history, every Kentuckian will have access to affordable health insurance.
An attorney by profession, Gov. Beshear has a long background in public service, having served as a state representative in the Kentucky General Assembly, Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor prior to being elected Governor.
Gov. Beshear is a native of Dawson Springs in Hopkins County, in western Kentucky. He holds a bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Kentucky and served in the U.S. Army Reserve.
He and his wife, Jane, have been married since 1969. They have two sons and three grandchildren.