Team Kentucky Update highlights inaugural events, an update on sports betting and more
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 7, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear celebrated continued economic investment in the commonwealth as he announced $160 million in new business investment this week, generating 740 full-time jobs for Kentuckians.
“Including the projects approved today, administration to date, we have announced more than 930 projects totaling over $28.3 billion in investment and 50,466 new full-time jobs for Kentuckians, and we’re just getting started,” said Gov. Beshear.
Today’s announcements, which were approved by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, include:
- American Welding and Gas is investing nearly $9.7 million in Scott County, creating 10 new jobs.
- Chaney’s Dairy Barn Inc. is investing over $2.6 million in Warren County.
- Four Roses Distillery is investing nearly $60 million in Bullitt County.
- Kanbol is investing over $10 million in Logan County, creating 40 new jobs.
- Kentucky Oak Capital is investing over $6 million in Ohio County, creating 30 new jobs.
- LB Manufacturing is investing over $3 million in Washington County, creating 20 new jobs.
- Marksbury Farm Foods is investing $3.3 million in Garrard County, creating 30 new jobs.
- Midea America Corp. is investing over $35.6 million in Jefferson County, creating 110 new jobs.
- Optomi, an information technology firm, will locate in Monticello with a $3 million investment that will create 200 full-time jobs – the largest job-creation investment in Wayne County since 2010.
- P.L. Marketing is investing over $1 million in Campbell County, creating 180 new jobs.
- Webasto Roof Systems is investing over $25.6 million in Fayette County, creating 120 jobs.
The Governor also recapped his visit to Berea on Tuesday, where he joined leaders from Hitachi Astemo Americas, one of Kentucky’s largest Tier 1 automotive suppliers, to view the company’s new $153 million, 167 job expansion.
Gov. Beshear also announced the final approvals in the initial round of a new build-ready site development initiative as six projects supporting economic development and job growth in eight counties were approved for nearly $5 million in state funding.
During the Team Kentucky Update, Gov. Beshear was joined by First Lady Britainy Beshear and Education and Labor Cabinet Secretary Jamie Link to provide updates on the two-year anniversary of tornadoes in Western Kentucky; inaugural events; the Team Kentucky Gallery; sports betting; state employee adoption benefits; and nonprofit awards from the Kentucky Arts Council.
Western Kentucky Tornado Response Update
Today, Gov. Beshear updated Kentuckians on response efforts in Western Kentucky ahead of the two-year anniversary of the devastating tornadoes that took the lives of 81 people on Dec. 10.
“Almost two years ago, our families in Western Kentucky had their world forever changed. When I got there at first light, the destruction I saw was unimaginable,” Gov. Beshear said. “But here’s what else I knew from the moment I arrived: our people are unbreakable.”
The Governor thanked the countless volunteers who assisted with recovery efforts, as well as donors from across the world who contributed to the First Lady’s Western Kentucky Christmas Toy Drive.
Over the past two years, the Beshear administration has kept its promise to be with Western Kentucky until every home and every life is rebuilt, securing more than $800 million in federal and state funds to assist with recovery and rebuilding efforts. Those dollars have supported local governments, nonprofits, individuals, farmers, new homes for survivors, food assistance, infrastructure, small businesses and the environment. This weekend, the Governor will visit Mayfield and Dawson Springs to remember those we lost and to hand over the keys to 10 new homes in these communities for tornado survivors.
‘Forward, Together’ Inauguration
The Governor and First Lady encouraged Kentuckians to attend or watch the Forward, Together inaugural celebrations on Dec. 12. To learn more about the events, visit the inaugural website.
The First Lady encouraged Kentuckians attending the worship service to bring a new, unwrapped stuffed animal or journal for ZeroV, the statewide coalition of domestic violence shelters. All donations directly help domestic violence programs as they provide life-saving shelter and support services to Kentuckians who seek crisis intervention and support in rebuilding their lives after abuse.
Mrs. Beshear provided an update on the inauguration poster contest for school-aged children. Winners will be contacted and invited to the Capitol on Dec. 12, where they will be recognized as part of the inaugural celebration.
“All week long, submissions have been pouring in from children across the commonwealth,” the First Lady said. “The deadline to mail in artwork was on Tuesday, so we expect to receive some of the last submissions in the mail today. Although it will be a really difficult job with all of the amazing artwork, we will select five winners. On Monday, we will announce the winners in a press release and on social media.”
Secretary Jamie Link announced that Kentuckians attending the inauguration celebration on Dec. 12 can take advantage of free public parking and a shuttle service.
Secretary Link also announced that Sig Luscher Brewery, at 221 Metro Street in downtown Frankfort, will host an unofficial Inaugural Ball. The event is open to the public. Entertainment will be provided by Stormin’ Rockwell starting at 7:30 p.m. EST.
Team Kentucky Gallery
The Governor and First Lady invited Kentuckians to lend their creative talents to the Team Kentucky Gallery, which is located in a main hall of the state Capitol in Frankfort. Photographers can submit digital copies of their photos by using the application on the gallery’s website. The deadline to submit artwork for consideration for the spring 2024 exhibit is Wednesday, Dec. 20.
“Andy and I believe there is no better place than the Capitol to highlight Kentuckians’ voices as represented through art, which is why we created the gallery,” the First Lady said.
The Governor announced that since sports betting opened in the commonwealth, over $656 million has been wagered. This number represents over $26.8 million that has been wagered in-person at the state’s licensed retail sportsbooks and over $629.5 million that has been wagered through mobile devices. An average of $65.2 million is being wagered each week.
Initial numbers indicate that the commonwealth brought in nearly $8 million in tax dollars for the first two months of sports wagering. Detailed monthly reports will be available on the Horse Racing Commission’s website starting next week.
“Folks, this is an incredible start, and if this trend holds true, we will significantly exceed the $23 million in projected revenue from sports wagering,” said Gov. Beshear.
Join Team Kentucky
Gov. Beshear invited those who want to help the Beshear/Coleman administration continue building a better Kentucky to apply for an unclassified position at jointeamky.ky.gov. The website also includes information about state government agencies and cabinets, Executive Branch state employment benefits and a list of in-demand jobs.
The Governor also thanked Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Kerry Harvey for his service. Harvey plans to retire at the end of this year.
“He is a true public servant and has made Kentucky a better place to call home throughout his career,” Gov. Beshear said. “No one deserves retirement more than someone who, from day one, has worked for our people.”
State Employee Adoption Benefits
Gov. Beshear highlighted adoption benefits for state employees. The commonwealth offers state employees interested in adoption up to $5,000 and $7,000 for children with special needs to help cover adoption expenses, as well as offset future medical or educational expenses. So far, this program has provided adoption reimbursement and stipend payments for 17 state employees, helping cover expenses for 25 children. The Governor announced that this program has resulted in Kentucky being recognized by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption as one of the Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces in the Government Industry.
Kentucky Arts Council Nonprofits Awards
The Governor announced that 107 nonprofit arts organizations across the commonwealth will benefit from more than $1.2 million in funding in the 2024 fiscal year through the Kentucky Arts Council’s Kentucky Arts Partnership grant.
The Governor named two women, Michelle Pawlowski and Brenda Tiffany, who dedicate their time to honor and pay tribute to fallen law enforcement officers lost in the line of duty as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. As a part of the Fallen Heroes Wreath Program, Pawlowski and Tiffany join forces to bring Christmas wreaths to the gravesites of fallen officers across the country, including KSP’s 37 fallen troopers and officers. To learn more, see the full release.
“While Michelle and Brenda are not doing this project for recognition, we want to say thank you by naming them this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars,” said Gov. Beshear. “The sacrifices of these law enforcement officers do not go unnoticed here in the commonwealth. We thank them for their service and protection, and we thank you for honoring our heroes.”