BESHEAR: With election over, we must unite and take fight to COVID-19
This election, I hope all of you participated in democracy and exercised your right to vote.
We had record turnout in the General Election and near-record turnout in the primary, thanks to the bipartisan agreement I reached with Secretary of State Michael Adams to allow Kentuckians to vote safely in a variety of ways during this pandemic.
Now, thankfully, the election is over, and I hope much of the division and partisanship that has gripped our country, including the attempts to make each other the enemy, go with it.
We have enough to worry about with our real enemies — including foreign actors and domestic terrorists — that want us to fail. Dividing Americans against ourselves is their goal, and unfortunately, our politics — amplified through social media — too often makes achieving that goal much easier than it ought to be.
I know many of us have strong feelings about the candidates we voted for and why, but I urge every Kentuckian to join me in moving forward together as Team Kentucky.
When I took office just less than a year ago, I talked about my commitment to setting a good example in Frankfort and building a better Kentucky where we treat each other with dignity and respect.
And despite our political differences, we can create this type of example in Kentucky if we simply remember we are all still Kentuckians and all still Americans.
Let’s remember who we are. Let’s remember what we have in common. Let’s change the tone in Kentucky, because defeating COVID-19 is dependent upon it.
As Kentuckians, we have done so much already. We banded together to crush the initial COVID-19 spike. We delivered 2 million meals to our seniors, ensured our children who were not in their classrooms could eat, raised money for our neighbors who couldn’t afford their rent or utilities, donated PPE to our front-line workers, made tens of thousands of masks for those who needed them and so much more.
Now, this pandemic has taken more than 220,000 Americans, more than 1,600 of them in Kentucky alone, and we need unity to defeat this deadly disease by slowing the spread and saving those around us.
We are in the most dangerous period of this pandemic, with cases rising exponentially across Kentucky and the nation and all we need to do is our part.
None of us can do it alone.
When we all wear a mask, limit social gatherings and travel, social distance, practice good hygiene and follow red zone recommendations, like working from home when possible, ordering takeout and postponing events, we will succeed in beating COVID-19.
Let’s forget about party politics. Let’s create a better Kentucky because we want that for our family and for other families.
I pledge to do my part.
I will continue to put Kentucky families first and work across party lines with local leaders, lawmakers in Frankfort and in Washington and with the incoming administration, just as I have the current White House, to face this challenge of our lifetime.
We must emerge from this pandemic stronger, with more opportunities and a better life for Kentuckians.
This year has been tough for everyone. Our nerves have been frayed, our resolve tested and our spirits, at times, deflated — but let’s remember, together we have unlimited strength to defeat this virus and save lives.
So, join me as proud Kentuckians and patriotic Americans to come together now.
We will get through this and we will get through this together as Kentuckians and as Americans.
Andy Beshear is Kentucky’s governor.