By Sen. Johnny Ray Turner

A message of prioritizing public education, affordable healthcare and government transparency was heard loud and clear this week at the ballot box. On Tuesday, Nov. 5, Kentuckians headed to the polls to partake in one of our nation’s longest-standing traditions: the democratic process.

Kentucky is unique in that we are only one of three states to hold state elections outside of presidential and midterm elections. Having off-year elections gives Kentuckians the chance to hone in on issues that affect them at the state level. This election we decided the individuals that will lead our state for the next four years.

This election proved to be a referendum on the previous policies and rhetoric coming out of Frankfort. Kentuckians said no to four more years of a Bevin administration with the election of Governor-elect Andy Beshear and Lt. Governor-elect Jacqueline Coleman. It is a new day in Kentucky and there will be major changes underway in Frankfort. From cabinet appointments, to reforming boards, to shaping future policy, these transitions will play a critical role as members begin to gear up for the 2020 regular session — especially during a budget session.

The other winners from the election include: Daniel Cameron, attorney general; Mike Harmon, state auditor; Michael Adams, secretary of state; Allison Ball, state treasurer and Ryan Quarles, agriculture commissioner.

Those elected and the incumbents holding these offices will play a critical role in the education, law, finance and transparency of our state. The legislature works closely with these offices on a wide array of issues when proposing legislation, reviewing annual reports and discussing policy. Working across the aisle with these individuals in a bipartisan manner is critical so that input from each side is considered during the process. I look forward to building and continuing these valuable relationships.

The newly elected and re-elected candidates will assume their term on Tuesday, Dec. 10. Their terms will last through Dec. 2023. Over these next four years, I hope that we can truly make meaningful and significant changes that bring progress and prosperity for all Kentuckians. I will continue to keep you updated on any developments within the executive branch as they come about.

Our right to vote is certainly one of the most powerful tools we are afforded as American citizens. A heavy price was paid for this freedom that we are granted today. This Veterans Day we reflect on the sacrifice of the American heroes before us that fought and died for us to carry on this tradition. It is for that reason that we must pay tribute to the 42 million men and women who have worn this country’s uniform over the last two-plus centuries.

Because of them, we have opportunities, we have freedoms, we have our independence and we have our democracy. But that all comes at a cost — a cost paid by those servicemen and women. They are proof that freedom is never free, nor does it come without sacrifice. They paid with their time, with their health and with their lives.

Veterans Day provides us an opportunity to honor those who served our country and to learn from their experiences. We mustn’t remove their humanity from history. We need to hear their stories to have a better understanding and a deeper appreciation of what they did and we need to share those stories with our children so they too will remember. We do not ever need to take for granted the men and women serving our country or our veterans.

On Monday, November 11, remember that Veterans Day is set aside so that we as a country can celebrate and honor all of our veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Many have served and sacrificed since before the Revolution and until this very day, and many more will continue to do the same. For this, we are grateful. For this, we will forever be indebted.

Stay in touch and engaged. You can offer feedback through the legislative message line at, (800) 372-7181. Citizens with hearing impairments can call, (800) 896-0305. You can also e-mail me at, johnnyray.turner@lrc.ky.gov.

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