FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The governor's office went blue, politically, in 2007 when Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear was elected. Now the carpeting is catching up.
Crews began installing blue carpeting on Tuesday evening at a cost of $28,856, replacing the red carpets installed when former Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher took office in 2003.
The work to replace the red carpeting is expected to be completed by late next week.
Finance Cabinet spokeswoman Pamela Trautner said the carpeting had become worn and needed to be replaced.
"It had gotten to the point of buckling and becoming a safety hazard," Trautner said.
The new carpeting will be installed in the governor's suite of offices on the first floor of the Capitol and in the first lady's office.
Carpet colors aren't necessarily red or blue, based on the party affiliation of the governor. Former Democratic Gov. Paul Patton had green carpets.
"Color preferences aside, I think it's just another example of the wrong spending priorities in this administration," said Kentucky Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson. "We recently learned of $30,000 wasted on tickets to the Olympics. We're learning about another nearly $30,000 being spent to make his office pretty. At some point in time, even the little spending decisions have to come under scrutiny."
Beshear's time in office has been marked by financial woes caused by economic recession that led to widespread unemployment in the state. He had to trim $1 billion from the state budget during his first term in office. The budget woes continued into his second term, which began last December.
The current budget required 8.4 percent cuts to most government agencies and programs.
"I'm sure every Kentuckian would like brand new carpeting in their homes, but they have to make the decisions when it is appropriate to do it," Robertson said. "And right now, a lot of Kentuckians are living with less because they have to. And it's probably not too much to ask that this governor do the same thing."