Steve Beshear's Been Influenced By His Mayor Dad

by Katherine Speller

Former Governor of Kentucky Steve Beshear has been chosen to give the Democrat’s response to President Donald Trump’s joint address to Congress. In addition to being known as an advocate for the Affordable Care Act, he is the father of the current Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear. Beshear's own father, Orlando Russell Beshear, was involved in Kentucky politics and Beshear has incorporated his father's approach to government into his own.

Orlando Russell Beshear, in addition to raising Steve and his four siblings alongside his wife Mary Elizabeth (Joiner) Beshear, was the mayor of their hometown of Dawson Springs, Kentucky, as well as the owner of a furniture store and a funeral home. Along with being a renaissance man of small town life, he was also, as Beshear said, a baptist preacher (as his own father was before him).

In a statement to the New York Times Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke of Steve Beshear’s experiences with ACA at length. "Governor Beshear’s work in Kentucky is proof positive that the Affordable Care Act works, reducing costs and expanding access for hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians,” Schumer said. “[Beshear] knows exactly what is at risk if President Trump and congressional Republicans repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement.”

In a statement about Steve Beshear’s selection to give the Democratic response, his son Andy Beshear wrote in a statement: “My Dad takes every opportunity to highlight Kentucky's success, and I expect him to talk about our shared values, the values he was taught by his dad, a Baptist preacher, that as Americans, we have a duty and moral obligation to support and care for each other.”

Andy Beshear’s comments make clear what a strong influence Orlando Russell Beshear's philosophies had on his father, particularly by referring to the "duty and moral obligation" to assist others. Perhaps his response to Trump's speech on Tuesday night will also marry his faith, his family history and his knowledge of healthcare.