FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat who
campaigned for governor as a reformer, promised the people of
Kentucky on Tuesday that he would unify political factions and
bring bipartisanship to state government.
Beshear, who took the ceremonial oath of office on an
unseasonably balmy day, immediately pledged his support for
sweeping change to state ethics laws. Beshear's inauguration theme
was "Kentucky First," and in his mid-afternoon inaugural speech
staged on the state Capitol steps, Kentucky's 61st governor
repeated that message.
"We have come through that time-honored American rite of a
hard-fought campaign, and as a result, it is easy to see what
divides us," Beshear told a crowd of more than 2,000 people.
"Instead, what I want to see and what I do see here today is what
Seated in a horse-drawn carriage, Beshear and his wife, Jane,
rode to the Capitol in a massive parade that wound itself through
the hills of this central Kentucky town. Citizens lined the parade
route, greeting the new first family with cheers, whistles and
pledges of support.
Serving as a backdrop, the state Capitol was decked out in blue
and gold bunting, and arches behind the speakers were adorned in
the same colors. Former governors, including Wendell Ford, state
Sen. Julian Carroll, Martha Layne Collins, Brereton Jones, Paul
Patton and Ernie Fletcher - the only Republican of the group -
attended the ceremony.
Two of Kentucky's highest-ranking female judges, state Court of
Appeals Chief Judge Sara Walter Combs and state Supreme Court
Justice Mary Noble, swore in Beshear and Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo
in front of the crowd. By that time, they were already in office.