Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear named `Person of the Year' [Opinion: The Arena]

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Gov. Steve Beshear:  Person of the Year

Smack in the middle of the silly brouhaha going on at the special session of the General Assembly in Frankfort, our beloved governor has received some well-deserved accolades from a source distant from the Commonwealth’s political chaos.  Governor Steve Beshear has been named “Person of the Year” by the national economic development publication Southern Business & Development magazine.

sbd_winter2012.jpgThe magazine’s winter 2012 issue, which hit mailboxes this week, applauds Gov. Beshear’s leadership in economic development and his ability to get past partisanship to accomplish his goals. It also marks the first time a governor has been named Person of the Year by the publication.

“It is an honor to be personally recognized by a leading economic development publication for my commitment to create and retain jobs across the Commonwealth,” Gov. Beshear said. “Since I became governor in 2007, my number one priority has been to cultivate a business climate where companies, both large and small, can invest and grow with confidence. We still have more we want to accomplish, but it’s nice to see that these efforts are recognized.”

The cover story highlights several of Gov. Beshear’s accomplishments, such as the partnership with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, to tackle one of the country’s largest infrastructure projects – the Ohio River Bridges Project.

Beshear personoftheyear_02.jpg“Major two-state cooperation is rare because it’s hard,” said Gov. Daniels in the article. “It can only happen when people on both sides put taxpayers and the public interest ahead of politics and parochialism. That’s the kind of guy I’ve found Steve Beshear to be and why I’ve developed such a feeling of friendship and respect for him.”

The story also highlights several high-profile economic development projects, such as Louisville’s Ford, GE, UFLEX, and Argonne, as well as the success of the Governor’s Incentives for a New Kentucky programs, which were created in 2009 to modernize and streamline the state’s economic incentives toolbox.

Beshear Gothic.jpgGov. Beshear is also applauded for his leadership in education, most notably his protection of SEEK funds during every budget-balancing exercise. The article also notes his advocacy for clean-coal technologies.

“The South’s recovery from The Great Recession is on a faster pace than the other three U.S. regions. In fact, on paper, this is the best economy we have seen in the American South since 1998,” said Michael C. Randle, editor and publisher of Southern Business & Development magazine. “The Commonwealth of Kentucky is right out front leading the region and has been the poster child of this incredible re-shoring event as manufacturers move capacity from Asia and elsewhere to the South and Mexico much more quickly than most folks realize.”

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