FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - Andy Beshear is officially Kentucky’s 63rd governor.
Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman were sworn in during a private ceremony at the Capitol building just after midnight Tuesday.
Then, at about 3:15 p.m., he took the podium to deliver his first public remarks as governor. Introduced by his wife, Britney Beshear, Andy Beshear spoke for about 20 minutes before accepting the oath office at 3:36 p.m.
“The commitment to be that commonwealth for the common good is our north star,” Beshear said. “It should lead and guide us.”
As he did throughout his campaign that culminated in a narrow victory over Republican incumbent Matt Bevin last month, Beshear honed in on public education during Tuesday’s inaugural speech. In fact, his first act as governor was to break up the Kentucky Board of Education that divided so many across the state in the last 18 months.
“This morning, I reorganized the state board of education and appointed new members who support public education,” Beshear said. “These members were not chosen based on any partisan affiliation but based on their commitment to make our schools better. To put our children first.”
Several hours earlier, the inaugural parade started down Capitol Avenue, led by Kentucky educators serving as grand marshals.
“Because they represent the best of us,” Beshear continued. “They are the ones on the front lines fighting to give our children the opportunity to succeed.”
Murray, Ky., resident Heidi Mallory said she took her son to the parade so they could experience the important event together.
“I used to teach social studies," she told WAVE 3 News’ Maira Ansari. "I really want to make him aware and involved in his community, and be aware of what is happening in our state and country, so this is a perfect way to do it.”
Only seven years old, Henry Mallory said he’d been rooting for Beshear for quite a while.
“I wrote him a letter, and I’ve been wanting him to be elected for ages,” he said.
Students from schools in and around Frankfort had the day off to take in the event.
“I see a lot of people who just really want change," 15-year-old Kendall Edmonds, from Midway, Ky., said. "I see a lot of teachers (and) students who just want something better for our community for their state.
Edmonds added that he will take away an important lesson from the inauguration.
“I just want people to know there is power in unity,” he said. "When you come together and support them or not, you just got to remember what’s best for everyone.”
Coleman, herself an educator, also referenced the importance of public education in her remarks on Tuesday just before she took the oath of office. She described what a Beshear-Coleman administration will mean to the state for the next four years.
“It means that public education is a top priority in the state of Kentucky,” she said to a loud ovation. “I thought you guys might like that one.”
Rocky Adkins, who lost to Beshear in the May primary but will serve as a special advisor to the new governor, spoke candidly on the Capitol steps as part of the inauguration program.
“We don’t have time to be our own worst enemies,” Adkins said. “We need vision and commitment to get us where we want to be. And Gov. Beshear has proven that he has that vision and he has that commitment."
Democratic Senator Morgan McGarvey, Senate Minority leader talked about what the Beshear administration will accomplish.
“The last four years we haven’t had a Governor who was willing to work with the legislature,” McGarvey said. “I think even the Republicans would say that. We’re all ready to roll up our sleeves, work together and get things done.”
Revenue was a big issue that was on the mind of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
“At some point in time they’re going to have to talk about revenue,” Fischer said. “What kind of revenue, where it’s going to be created from. Those are the kind of discussions needed to take place.”
Beshear’s father, Steve Beshear, served as Kentucky’s 61st governor from 2007-15. They are the only father-son duo in state history to hold the office of governor.
Here’s what you need to know about Tuesday’s festivities:
For more information on the inauguration events, click here.