Beshear Plans Kentucky Themed Inauguration

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Gov.-elect Steve Beshear's inauguration next month is going to have a Kentucky theme to it, with many horses.

Beshear, a Democrat, announced some of the early details about Dec. 11, the day he gets sworn in to lead state government for the next four years.

"There will be a message of inclusiveness, a message of: 'It's time for Kentucky and Kentuckians to come together to move this state forward,"' Beshear said Tuesday.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher lost his bid for re-election to Beshear in last week's general election.

Beshear will be sworn in during a private ceremony just after midnight on Dec. 11. A public swearing-in ceremony will take place later that afternoon. Officials are also planning three public balls that will be held in tents across the state Capitol grounds, said Michael Cooper, the Beshear inauguration committee's executive director.

The traditional parade will be that morning and wind up in front of the Kentucky Capitol, Cooper said.

Each of Kentucky's 120 counties will be asked to participate and, as a nod to the 2010 World Equestrian Games, the parade will have more equestrian units in the parade than in years past, Cooper said.

"This whole inaugural will be very Kentucky themed," Cooper said.

Beshear was uncertain of the price tag but said his inauguration committee would be accepting donations to help pay for the festivities. He appointed Wade and Alice Houston of Louisville and Tracy and Carol Farmer of Midway as the committee's co-chairs.

Donors to the inaugural committees are disclosed by law. Individuals and political action committees are not limited in the amount of money they can donate to the committee. Corporations, however, are prohibited from donating.

Fletcher, who in 2003 became Kentucky's first Republican governor in more than 30 years, raised and spent $904,276 on his inauguration. Former Gov. Paul Patton's 1999 inaugural committee raised and spent $49,000, and the 1995 committee raised and spent just more than $34,000, according to records filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

The current budget calls for up to $220,000 for the governor's transition. In the past, portions of that money have gone to help pay for the inauguration.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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