Skip to main content

Coleman: Beshear, unions treat Kentucky families like their own

Berry Craig
20 Jan, 2023
Social share icons

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

The Kentucky State AFL-CIO’s unprecedented early endorsement of Gov. Andy Beshear’s reelection impressed, but didn’t surprise, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman.

“He is willing to treat every Kentucky family like his own, and that’s what labor does," she said.

Beshear earned the state AFL-CIO's nod on Jan. 11, just five days after the filing deadline. Never before had the state’s largest labor organization backed a candidate so soon in an election cycle.

“The Kentucky State AFL-CIO is making this historic early endorsement of Gov. Andy Beshear to signify our commitment to re-elect Andy Beshear and demonstrate our resolve to keep Kentuckians safe from the false and harmful policies of our opponents,” said a statement from Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan.

Also in a statement, Beshear said he was greatly honored to be endorsed by the hard-working families of the Kentucky AFL-CIO, adding “after completing the best two-year period of economic development in Kentucky’s history, the commonwealth’s  future has never been brighter. From the Brent Spence Bridge to electric vehicle batteries, we have a chance to create more prosperity for future generations than I ever thought was possible.”

Said Coleman, in Paducah for the 33rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon: "It is hard to put into words the impact that labor has had on the commonwealth and all of our lives. To have those folks with us in this journey is important because they have been, next to teachers, one of the most marginalized groups that we’ve seen in Kentucky politics--the way they have been treated over the last few years."

In 2017, a Republican majority legislature, encouraged by GOP Gov. Matt Bevin, passed a "right to work" law and repealed the prevailing wage. The next year, the governor and Republican lawmakers sought to gut public pensions, sparking large teacher protests at the Capitol.

In 2019, Beshear, then attorney general, beat Bevin. Beshear, who had sued on behalf of public employees and came out against the anti-union measures, enjoyed strong backing from unions and the Kentucky Education Association.

The GOP has continued to pass anti-worker and anti-public education bills. Beshear has consistently wielded his veto pen, but GOP House and Senate super-majorities have overridden him.

Coleman is a former public high school teacher, coach and administrator. "So I have always felt I was a kindred spirit with unions, and we are pleased to have them stand up with us," she said. "To have unions believe that we are the best team to put Kentucky workers first means more than I can possibly say."

Coleman pledged that she and Beshear will continue to fight for unions in a second term.

Beshear is expected to cruise past two largely unknown and underfunded candidates in the May Democratic primary. A dozen Republicans have tossed their hats in the primary ring, but most observers say only four are legitimate contenders for the GOP nomination.