Governor Beshear was a panelist for the Forum’s discussion on The Opioid Crisis and Opioids and Addiction, and Unprecedented Natural Disasters in a Time of Climate Change.
Steve Beshear served as the 61st Governor of Kentucky from 2007-2015. He also served as Attorney General from 1979 to 1983, Lieutenant Governor from 1983 to 1987 and was a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1973 to 1979.
As Governor, Beshear expanded the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act and launched the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, benefiting over 500,000 Kentuckians. These actions together reduced the state’s uninsured rate from over 20% to 7% and ensured that for the first time in history every Kentuckian would have access to affordable health insurance.
Beshear also successfully brought Kentucky through the historic recession by making Kentucky a leader in job creation. Under his leadership, Kentucky’s unemployment rate dropped from 10.7% to 4.9%, and the state set export records four years in a row. In all, Beshear’s administration announced almost 2,300 new and expansion projects that created $19.3 billion in investment and more than 87,000 jobs when full employment is attained. The economic turnaround culminated in 2014 and 2015 by Kentucky winning Site Selection magazine’s coveted Governor’s Cup two years in a row, meaning Kentucky finished first in the nation in economic development per capita.
He is currently a Richard L. and Ronay A. Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and is the author of an upcoming book, People Over Politics.