Stewardship, pride and investing in our future – Part 3

STAFF REPORT

In the past couple of weeks, our front page has featured two parts of an interview conducted by Jeff Jobe, Publisher of Jobe Publishing, Inc. This particular article will be discussing Governor Bevin’s thoughts on being a good steward to Kentucky and his thoughts on what happens when you do.

He described in detail to Jobe, and his accompanied team, the importance of Kentucky’s resources, as well as the importance of maintaining our state.

In Governor Bevin’s inauguration speech, he asked Kentuckians to clean up after themselves, to take pride.  He went on to praise Kentucky’s beauty, asking everyone to individually, and collectively, be better stewards to our state.  He referred to this state as an incredible place, beautiful and full of natural, limited resources and commodities.

“Geographically, seasonally, meteorologically, logistically, quality of life-wise, cost of living-wise, on all of these fronts, resource-wise, waters, and other commodities, the diversities of our typography couldn’t be found anywhere in 40 thousand square miles. We have it all right here in the last, geo-politically, safe continent on Earth, if there is such a thing, and we’re right in the middle of it,” was Governor Bevin’s insight on the values Kentucky possesses.

He explained that Kentucky has, and is often, been described to other states and regions to be a poor state.  By many Kentucky is thought of as a 3rd class citizenship in America, with some believing this to be never-changing.  This repression on the state has caused most of Kentucky to fall into the “woe is me” mindset, he said.

Governor Bevin explained his personal analogy of Kentucky as, “It’s like you’re walking down a country road on a sunny day, it’s a dirt road, and out of the corner of your eye you see something kind of sparkle. You look over and it’s just a bunch of dusty rocks everywhere, but you’re sure you saw something.  You pick one up and you dust one off and it’s just this stunning jewel.  It’s just been sitting there, covered in dust on the side of the road. That’s what Kentucky is.”

Jobe told Bevin of a conversation had between himself and his team on the ride to Frankfort for this interview when Governor Bevin mentioned being a steward to Kentucky.  The discussion was that of his work on cleaning up the State Capital building.  That’s when Governor Bevin gave a surprising bit of information, saying, “This building was built in 1910.  Guess when the last time it was ever cleaned… 1910.  It has not been cleaned one time in 108 years. 100 plus years and nobody thought to clean it.  This building that we’re sitting in… we’ve cleaned all of the outside walls, we still have to do the dome. During my inauguration I looked up and it was covered with mold and mildew.  You look at the side of this building and it’s stunning.  You look at the side of this building and compare it to that one across the street. Look how gray…”

Upon arrival and the approach unto the State Capital it was visible, without doubt, that lots of hard work had been put into cleaning the outside of this important building.  Jobe commended Bevin by saying, “I think that’s part of all our jobs, to make sure the assets we have inherited are taken care of and then passed along to those who follow”.

Governor Bevin continued sharing statistics about the lacking of maintenance in Kentucky, specifically the State Parks.  He said, “we have 50 State Parks and in the 10 years prior to 2015, including 2015, those 10 years prior to this administration coming in, there was $6 million spent.  That breaks down to $12,000 a year per each state park.  This number encompasses everything from new mattresses, televisions, electrical systems, roofs and modernization for dozens of buildings; just simple painting of a single building couldn’t happen for this amount.”  “You couldn’t paint a single building for $12,000,” he added.

“We’ve not invested in anything for growth.  We’ve been kicking cans down the road.  We are fixing this and we’ve chosen to invest tens of millions in recent years and yet we have about a quarter billion dollars in deferred maintenance in our state parks still waiting,” he said.

He spoke of the importance of our state parks to many of our regional and the state economic stability.  He explained that last year, 2016 to 2017, saw significant growth. and it will be the same this year, year ending on June 30th.  He said, “we saw the year over year number of rooms go up 18,000, that is in just one year.”  He explained that this is after it had been declining for years and these rooms equate to a significant impact for tourism dollars that come with them for other businesses.

He said it was pretty obvious that state parks were a last priority, if any priority at all.  Everything over time will deteriorate and will need updating, upgrading, and maintenance.  He said that the last time Lake Barkley State Resort Park had new paint was when it was built.  An online search for the facility shows it was built in 1969.

Governor Bevin said he wants to show the people of Kentucky that investing in who we are and in our state has a payoff. Proving by investing in what has been neglected for so many years, and that payoff being seen in how others outside Kentucky view us and being realized in economic development,  He said, “It is true that you’ve got to spend money, to make money.”

Governor Bevin, not being native to Kentucky, believes this is what deters him from taking the greatness of Kentucky for granted.   Jobe said it wasn’t until he left chasing a career for years and returned that he himself could see it.

The Governor said, “This is what we’re fighting hard to change, the values of Kentucky.  To say that we are better than we have allowed ourselves to be, and if I do nothing else but help people believe in the greatness of Kentucky then we will have done a great thing here in Frankfort.”

“I’m proud to be Governor of Kentucky,” he said.

A Tom Latek/Kentucky Today photo

 

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