After President Trump addressed a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, Democrat Steve Beshear was set to deliver his party’s official response. A former governor of Kentucky, Beshear no longer holds public office, but his family has always maintained a connection to the public sector. However, Beshear’s mother, Mary Elizabeth Beshear, represented a different part of her son’s life.
Beshear served two terms as governor of Kentucky, from 2007 through 2015. Before that, he also served as Kentucky's lieutenant governor and attorney general. He shares that experience in public life with two other generations of his family: His son, Andy, is the current attorney general for Kentucky, serving in the very same role that his father once held. Additionally, Steve's father, Orlando Russell, previously served as mayor of the small Kentucky town where Steve was raised.
As with any family, the Beshear lineage is more than the offices its members have held. In addition to serving as mayor, Beshear's father was also a Primitive Baptist lay minister. His mother, on the other hand, belonged to the Christian Church. Beshear spent time in both faiths, learning from both his father and his mother. Beshear has previously said that his Christian upbringing has influenced his politics.
During my 8 yrs as governor, Ky was a leader in health care and job creation. It's exciting that our voice is still being sought out.— Steve Beshear (@Steve__Beshear) February 24, 2017
Although he's no longer in office, Beshear is back in the spotlight because of his role in Tuesday's joint session address. According to the International Business Times, Beshear is known as an "Affordable Care Act champion," which could explain why the Democratic Party chose him to rebut Trump's prime-time address. During his time in office, Beshear reportedly used the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion to insure some 300,000 previously uninsured Kentuckians. As Republicans — namely Trump — tout their plans to "repeal and replace" President Obama's landmark healthcare legislation, Beshear can personally attest to the success it has had, even in a typically conservative-leaning state. (In case you're wondering, Trump won Kentucky with more than 62 percent of the vote in November.)
Beshear's rebuttal on Tuesday was expected to focus on the issue of healthcare, just as part of Trump's speech was expected to promote the GOP's plan for removing Obamacare from the books. If he wants to appeal to a conservative audience, though, he could bring up the impact of his faith on his politics. With a minister for a father (and grandfather) and a religious mother, the appeal would likely come across totally legitimate.