Team Kentucky Update highlights good economic development news, transportation awards, an update on sports betting
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 5, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear said that since the beginning of his administration, the state has now announced nearly 900 private-sector new-location and expansion projects that total $27.5 billion in investments, creating 48,000 jobs. This is the highest investment figure for any governor in state history.
“If we keep pushing – not right, not left, but forward – we will keep building that better Kentucky we all want: one where all our kids and grandkids can pursue every dream, no matter how big, right here in the commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear.
During the Team Kentucky Update, Gov. Beshear provided an update on economic development; sports betting; funding for repairs to local roads; an electric vehicle charging station network; medical cannabis; Veterans’ Program Trust Fund grants; the graduation of law enforcement officers and telecommunicators; and high-ground communities in Eastern Kentucky. He also named the seven Kentucky schools recognized as 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.
Gov. Beshear highlighted the newest in a series of significant investments in Kentucky’s rapidly growing EV sector, as Ascend Elements and SK ecoplant have announced plans to construct a $65.8 million lithium-ion battery recycling facility in Christian County that will create 60 full-time jobs for Kentuckians.
The Governor highlighted new economic growth coming to Adair County as Phillips Tank & Structure, a nationwide tank construction contractor, announced plans to build a $2.76 million fabrication shop that will create 20 new full-time jobs in the Columbia area.
Gov. Beshear announced that Play Mart Inc., an industry leader in recycled plastic play systems, will add to Kentucky’s growing manufacturing industry with a $1.7 million investment in the company’s current operation in Pulaski County, creating 10 new full-time jobs.
The Governor recapped joining local and state officials as well as executives from GE Appliances, a Haier company, last week to celebrate the opening of two new dishwasher manufacturing lines at Appliance Park in Louisville. The move marks the completion of the company’s transformative $450 million investment announced in October 2021, creating over 1,000 full-time Kentucky jobs.
Yesterday, Gov. Beshear joined local officials and company leadership from Ahlstrom, a manufacturer of fiber-based specialty materials, to cut the ribbon on the company’s new $68 million facility in Madisonville that is creating over 50 new full-time jobs.
Yesterday, the Governor also joined local officials and leadership at Toyota Boshoku America Inc. to celebrate the announcement of the company’s new $225 million investment in Hopkinsville that will create 157 quality jobs for Kentuckians.
The Governor also designated October as Manufacturing Month in the commonwealth as the sector continues to be at the center of Kentucky’s record economic growth and job creation with approximately 5,000 facilities statewide employing more than 250,000 Kentuckians.
The Governor updated Kentuckians on sports betting in the commonwealth. With the launch of mobile wagering, over the weekend, Thursday – Sunday, Kentuckians wagered over $68 million through retail and mobile channels combined.
“Kentuckians are taking advantage of legal wagering both in-person and through mobile applications to bet on a growing number of sports, including NFL, college sports, Formula 1 racing and more,” said Gov. Beshear. “Now we can look forward to watching these numbers grow and seeing the revenue it generates help build a better Kentucky.”
Discretionary Transportation Funding
Gov. Beshear, whose administration has made it a high priority to help local governments repair their streets and roads, announced a new round of discretionary road funds totaling more than $2.1 million to 15 local governments.
“One thing the Governor mentioned was working together for our communities regardless of whether our party is red or blue,” said Laurel County Judge/Executive David Westerfield. “We should all work together for one common goal – and I think that’s been the goal the Governor has had the last three years – is to work to help everybody, not one organization or the other, or one political party or the other. He has been awesome in the job he has done, and we appreciate all he has done for us.”
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Network
In keeping with his priority to keep Kentucky at the center of the electric vehicle revolution, Gov. Beshear today announced the first round of awards for developers to design, build, operate and maintain a statewide network of EV charging stations. The six approved developers qualified for nearly $10.9 million in formula funding under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program. A full list of approved developers is available here.
Medical Cannabis Program
The Governor gave an update on the Kentucky Medical Cannabis Program, a part of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, after signing historic legislation into law earlier this year to legalize medical cannabis. Sam Flynn, who most recently served as the Labor and Education Cabinet’s chief of staff and general counsel, has been named as the executive director. The office has launched a new website where Kentuckians can get updates on the program, kymedcan.ky.gov. Gov. Beshear announced the Board of Physicians and Advisors held their first meeting yesterday and took steps toward ensuring Kentucky has a safe and robust medical cannabis program. The Governor also discussed the Team Kentucky Medical Cannabis Workgroup, which will study evolving medical cannabis industry policy. The group will recommend best practices to the program and other state agencies and ensure that Kentuckians have safe access to medical cannabis.
The Governor reminded Kentuckians that while the new law is being implemented those with qualifying medical conditions can continue seeking relief with medical cannabis by following the Governor’s executive order.
Veterans’ Program Trust Fund Grants
Gov. Beshear announced nearly $200,000 in funding from the Veterans’ Program Trust Fund, which will go to five organizations supporting Kentucky veterans. These organizations include:
- $90,000 to the Kentucky Habitat for Humanity to support the Hammers for Heroes program, which provides home repairs for veterans in the commonwealth;
- More than $20,000 to the Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund Inc. to preserve and repair the National Guard Memorial Inc.;
- $10,000 to Visual Presentation Inc. to honor and celebrate the veteran community with a city parade event in Louisville;
- More than $28,000 to the Veteran’s Club to support the expansion of their equine mentoring program, which provides healing to veterans in need; and
- $50,000 to USA Cares to provide emergency financial assistance for the Kentucky Army and Air National Guard units who experience natural disasters.
Throughout the administration, more than $2.3 million has been awarded to organizations with funds generated from veteran license plate purchase and renewals.
Increasing Public Safety
The Governor welcomed 88 Kentuckians to the law enforcement community, which are working to make Kentucky safer. Today, 34 law enforcement officers from agencies across the commonwealth graduated from the Department of Criminal Justice Training. Tomorrow, the state is expected to graduate 54 telecommunicators, which includes 30 who will work for the Kentucky State Police and 24 serving with local law enforcement agencies. The 30 KSP Telecommunications Academy graduates mark the largest graduating class in the agency’s history.
“To all our officers and telecommunications: I want you to know that my administration is committed to ensuring that you have the tools necessary to succeed and that all of you have our support as you do this vital work,” said Gov. Beshear. “Today’s news shows that the intentional steps we’ve taken, like providing pay raises, have helped attract more telecommunicators to this essential role.”
High Ground Communities
Gov. Beshear updated Kentuckians on high-ground communities being built in Eastern Kentucky to give those who survived the floods a new home. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development approved the necessary environmental review at the Sky View community in Perry County, allowing the state to move forward with construction on an access road to get equipment to the site. Work will also begin to install water, wastewater and electric infrastructure at the site.
In partnership with FEMA, Kentucky Power has begun stringing line to bring electricity to a life station and 10 homes in the Cottages at Thompson Branch in Letcher County.
“These are more good steps forward, and we continue to be committed to keeping our promise to be there every step of the way for the rebuilding process,” said Gov. Beshear.
Team Kentucky All-Stars
Each year, The U.S. Department of Education honors schools from across the country for high performance and closing achievement goals by recognizing them as National Blue Ribbon Schools. Gov. Beshear named the seven Kentucky schools included in the 2023 list as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. The schools include:
- Cassidy Elementary School – Lexington
- Drakes Creek Middle School – Bowling Green
- Farmington Elementary School – Mayfield
- Potter Gray Elementary School – Bowling Green
- Russell High School – Russell
- Saint Xavier High School – Louisville
- Villa Madonna Academy Elementary School – Villa Hills
“Congratulations to these schools, teachers and administrators who worked so hard. I am proud to name you this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars,” said Gov. Beshear.