Wednesday night was a promising one for Kentucky’s children.
In fact, this may be the first time in a long time that children were a genuine priority in a Commonwealth Address. Governor Beshear articulated the reality that children’s health and education and safety all impinge on one another. Leaders simply cannot silo improvement for Kentucky’s children and a holistic campaign for kids is replete with potential. Especially important was the commitment spotlighted around the child protective services’ system. The kind of targeted reforms proposed can, in fact, bring about a climate in which transparency, accountability and compliance are realities.
I appreciated the appropriate attention the Governor gave to the critical issue of bringing the Commonwealth’s tax and budget system into the 21st century. To address the needs of Kentucky families, it will take rare political courage for required mandates are for both increased revenue and accountable reductions. Simple sufficiency – not luxury – demands that the equation cannot be cuts alone. That is politically unpopular but it is a policy imperative. The good news is that the Governor has squarely put the issue on the table. The challenge, of course, is how that issue takes shape and it is in those details that families will win or lose.
In Frankfort’s atmosphere of toxicity and budget constraints, it is easy to be defeatist. But due credit goes to the Governor for beginning a conversation that can bring a better day for Kentucky’s kids in health, safety and learning. He, in fact, stood tall for Kentucky’s kids last night.