LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With only a few weeks left of 2022, the race to be Kentucky's next governor is starting to heat up.
Governor Andy Beshear (D) has already announced his plans to run for the state's highest office once again next year. He faces a crowded pool of Republican opponents vying for their party's nominee, including Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
This year has been characterized by a bounce back in consumer spending, but also record inflation across the board.
Beshear said his administration took action where it could to help give Kentuckians financial relief, citing the spike in gas prices over the summer.
"It's hard to control gas prices as governor," he said. "But we had a state statute that was going to raise them, was going to raise the taxes on it when people couldn't afford it. I froze that."
The governor also talked about how he froze the property tax on vehicles this year, which was going up astronomically. Between both freezes, Beshear said that's saved Kentuckians nearly $300 million.
But the Governor said the past couple years have brought many uncontrollable setbacks between natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beshear believes recent economic developments, including the electric battery park being built down in Glendale, are setting up a brighter future.
Part of the path forward, he says, is limiting suffering through the legalization of medical marijuana. Until then, he's doubling down on visions for his executive order set to take effect in January.
It'll let patients purchase from states where it's legal and bring it back to Kentucky, if their healthcare provider certifies it'll help ease suffering.
"It's to provide relief, relief to that veteran suffering from PTSD that maybe is having suicidal thoughts. It's helped for that family who has a child who's having epileptic seizures every hour or every minute," he said.
Gov. Beshear says it'll be important for patients to keep track of their receipts, the fastest way to show law enforcement or others what's been purchased, where and why.
"We had to do something to provide what relief we can, and I hope also push the General Assembly to do in their job." he said.
Another campaign issue that's expected to play a heavy role in the 2023 governor's race is Beshear's handling of COVID-19, especially as it relates to the 2020 shutdowns -- what some viewed as causing irreparable harm to businesses across the state.
WHAS11 asked Beshear how he plans to convince critics that they're still better off as a whole because of decisions he made.
"When it came to COVID, it was about life versus death. Every decision I made was going to either save or cost more lives, and I didn't make any decision in COVID based on politics -- I made it on right versus wrong," Gov. Beshear said. "I told the state that we were going to do the right thing, even if it ran me out of town, because I'm more worried about the judgment of my maker than I am about comments on Facebook."
Finally, we discussed Louisville's future under new leadership: U.S. Congressman-elect Morgan McGarvey (KY-3) and Louisville mayor-elect Craig Greenberg (D).
"Louisville is an incredible place, it was my home for 15 years. I think there are a lot of challenges facing Louisville: Housing, crime and public safety, as well as opportunity -- making sure that people truly feel like there can be a bright future," Beshear said.
It's a path forward the governor believes is trending upward, as he seeks re-election next year.
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