In a 20-minute address to more than 100 local Democratic Party leaders and loyalists, gubernatorial candidate Andy Beshear wasted no time stirring an emotional fervor aimed at rallying supporters to work aggressively in the waning days of the campaign season.

He opened his address Wednesday evening at Nolin RECC’s community room with a high-volume series of questions answered with cheers and applause: “Are we ready to fight for teachers? Are we ready to fight for health care? Are you ready to beat Matt Bevin?”

Then he responded, “Me too.”

Coming off the second gubernatorial debate the previous night, Beshear assured his audience if the election were held now, his research says he would win. “But here’s the bad news: The election is not today,” he said.

In urging them to petition door-to-door, he encouraged the group to work as if Democrats are behind and carry the active energy exhibited in the room to campaign among neighbors.

“We all know this race is bigger than me,” he said. “It’s about each and every one of us.”

With more than a dozen educators in the room, Beshear repeated campaign themes critical of Bevin’s positions regarding schools. He pledged to replace Bevin’s appointees on the state board of education and education commissioner immediately upon taking office. He also described plans “to fully fund every school in the Commonwealth” and repeated a commitment to a $2,000 raise for every teacher.

Beshear, who currently serves as Kentucky’s attorney general, talked about his office’s efforts to address opioid abuse and lawsuits filed against major pharmaceutical companies. He positioned himself as the most aggressive attorney general in the country in challenging Big Pharma and said as governor he plans to continue those efforts.

He also promised to protect insurance coverage for pre-existing medical conditions while portraying Bevin as being more interested in business.

A Kentucky native, Beshear is the son of Bevin’s predecessor, Steve Beshear. He stressed the importance of uniting the state regardless of party or political disagreement and treating all with respect.

“I’m telling you in this Common­wealth, we cannot have an us versus them. We cannot have a this side and that side,” Beshear said. “Folks, we have to come together. There can only be a we and we can only move forward as one.”

Ben Sheroan can be reached at 270-505-1764 or bsheroan@thenewsenterprise.com.

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