FRANKFORT, Ky. — Teachers from across the state turned out to show their support for Andy Beshear on Inauguration Day. They were honored as the grand marshals of the inaugural parade, with teachers from every district invited to the Capitol.
“We see people from all over Kentucky that have descended on Frankfort to usher in a new day, one where we can come together as team Kentucky, where we realize we have more in common than could ever tear us apart. Today is a true opportunity, here, to show we can do this right, we can work together, and we can get things done.”
According to Beshear, this is the first time in Kentucky’s history when the new governor did not lead the parade. Instead, teachers were front and center.
“This is an amazing experience. You know, as we’ve been doing all of this, one the best things that we’ve found is that we have a voice and that we can use it,” said Emilie Blanton, a teacher at Southern High School in Louisville.
Throughout his campaign, Beshear rallied behind teachers during sick-outs and spoke out against what he called “bullying” from former Gov. Matt Bevin. He chose a former teacher, Jacqueline Coleman, as his running mate, and proposed pay raises for public teachers.
“When we take a look at Andy, he’s always been a man of the people and a man for the people, and this just goes to show it,” Blanton said.
Just before the inaugural parade, Beshear moved through a sea of teachers dressed in red, greeting them and thanking them for their support.
Though Beshear's time in office is just beginning, the teachers were already chanting for "eight more years."
“Our teachers have gone from being locked out to leading the way. It’s a great day,” Beshear said.