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Gov. Beshear and democratic candidates visit WKU

Kayden Mulrooney
Gov. Andy Beshear speaks to students in the Downing Student Union at Western Kentucky University on Nov. 3, 2023. Beshear stopped at WKU after appearing at other college campuses across the Commonwealth to encourage young people to go to the polls on Election Day.

Gov. Andy Beshear and other Democratic candidates visited WKU on Friday to meet students and encourage those on campus to vote in the upcoming governor’s election. 

Beshear, a Democrat, is up for reelection as Kentucky’s governor and is running against current attorney general Daniel Cameron, the Republican candidate. Prior to Beshear’s election in 2019, he also served as attorney general.

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman emphasized the importance of every vote by reminding voters that, in 2019, she and Beshear won by “one and a half votes per precinct.” She asked for attendees’ support to “finish this election strong.”

History professor and former Kentucky State Representative Patti Minter honored Beshear for being a supporter of WKU since he was elected.

“It’s so important to have the governor here on campus,” Minter said, claiming it “tells our campus community that he’s always here for us.”

Minter said, “This campus welcomes everybody, and him being here tells us that.”

Beshear highlighted a similar sentiment, saying, “we serve every single family… this race is about us. It’s about Kentucky.”

Beshear boasted Kentucky’s successes during his term, including two of the best years of economic development, some of the lowest annual and monthly unemployment rates, three of the state’s largest budget surpluses and the highest budget for higher education.

“We are on a record setting economic win streak,” Beshear said, which means “more opportunities for every single WKU student.”

Minter believes young voters are concerned about “being able to make a living wage and have good jobs.” She exalted Beshear for “bringing all of these good paying jobs into our community.”

Stephanie Crouch, WKU senior criminology major, agreed that employment is one of the most important issues to her, along with reproductive rights.

Commissioner of Agriculture candidate Sierra Enlow believes young voters are concerned with “everything from social issues to economic issues.” She said young voters initially become engaged in social issues and become more concerned about jobs post-graduation.

In his current campaign, Beshear is advocating for universal pre-k, raises for teachers and bringing high speed internet access to every home in the state.

Beshear stated he believes in higher education. Minter said “as an educator myself, that’s extremely important to me.”

David King, 71, takes a photo with Gov. Andy Beshear in the Downing Student Union at Western Kentucky University on Nov. 3, 2023. King moved to Bowling Green from Louisville two weeks before the event. “I’ve been a Democrat my whole life,” King says, “I think Andy has done a fantastic job these last four years.” (Kayden Mulrooney)

Coleman told students that they are the future of the economy they are working to improve as they build a better Kentucky.

“Every young voter represents our future for the state of Kentucky,” Enlow said. She described voting as an opportunity for individuals to make a difference in the policies they find important and are most impacted by.

“It’s okay to admit we’ve been through a lot,” Beshear assured voters. Minter praised Beshear for moving the commonwealth forward in a difficult time.

Voters are aware of the unprecedented times and natural disasters that have been felt throughout the community, and some criticize Beshear’s legislative choices. Chalk messages of disapproval and opposition had been left on the sidewalk outside of DSU, where Beshear spoke with students.

Beshear argued that “anger politics should end right here and right now.”

“Young people today don’t want political division, they want to work together,” Minter said. “These culture war issues are just ways to divide us.”

With high stakes and partisan division, Minter describes this election as “the most important election of our lifetime.” 

Megan Bailey, director of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth’s SOKY chapter, believes in the power of young voters. She said they “come with a new fire” and “the energy we’ve got to have to change the systems and make them better.

“Young voters are typically innovative,” Bailey said. “They tend to think past what my generation can imagine or prior generations have been able to imagine.” 

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth created an online accessible voter guide in which surveys were sent out to candidates with questions pertaining to various issues, where Bailey says they were able to express “their own feelings, their own heart, their own experiences.”

Rides to the polls will be made available by Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. More information regarding this service can be found on their website.

To make a difference in local and state governments, Kentuckians can vote early on November 4th or on Election Day on Tuesday, November 7th at one of the various polling locations in Bowling Green.

Kentuckians can also meet Beshear at Fountain Square Park on Nov. 4th at 2 p.m. and join the community in knocking on doors to get out the vote. 

 News Reporter Lindsey Coates can be reached at [email protected]


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