Local Democrats hear from Gov. Beshear, other candidates for state office during Wendell Ford Dinner

Published 3:52 pm Monday, August 28, 2023

The Clark County Democratic Party Executive Committee is no stranger to Winchester, and on the night of Monday, Aug. 21, they found themselves in neighboring Mt. Sterling for a special occasion.

With Gov. Andy Beshear and others present, the Clark, Montgomery, and Powell County parties’ executive committees met at Irish Hills Restaurant for the Wendell Ford Dinner.

The special event, which cost $55 per person or $100 per couple, was unique.

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“This was an event that was kind of unusual because we were trying to get three counties together but we were successful”, said Henry Branham, former Clark County judge-executive and chair of the Clark County Democratic Party. “[We] had a great crowd tonight…so we were very pleased.”

In total, approximately 110 people showed up for the event.

Among those in attendance were Clark County Magistrate Robert Blanton, Clark County Clerk Michelle Turner, Clark County Jailer Frank Doyle and several others.

The event was conceived in February after first contacting Governor Beshear’s office.

From there, the idea of utilizing three counties came about as a way to address all at once.

Rick Beach, a member of the executive committee and former Winchester city commissioner, helped emcee the event.

“One of the things that I really enjoyed seeing here [is] there are some younger people,” Beach said. “I think that’s important for the Democratic Party.”

Shortly after Beach opened the evening and dinner was served, two other officials running for statewide office spoke to the audience.

One was Kentucky secretary of state candidate Buddy Wheatley, a former House of Representatives member, attorney and fire chief of the Covington Fire Department.

“I hone in on free and fair elections, truest representation of government that we can have in Frankfort and Washington, D.C., and access to the polls,” Wheatley said. “Those will be the bulwarks of my campaign as Secretary of State.”

Kim Reeder, who is running for state auditor, a tax attorney by trade and former full-time substitute teacher, also spoke.

“My background, my skills, my intellect, and education…would serve Kentuckians well,” Reeder said. “I know how to dig into spreadsheets. I know how to assess whether internal controls have been made, and I know that the amount of energy that someone applies to those areas makes a big difference.”

Certainly, not least, with his father and former governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear, also present, Gov. Andy Beshear addressed the crowd.

During his speech, several topics were addressed and highlighted – including business investment, lowering drug overdoses, funding public education, and legalizing sports betting.

Beshear also noted that more than $3 million in funding had been given to Montgomery County during the summer.

“We’re talking about the issues that matter most to Kentuckians, that matter to our families once they put their kids down to bed,” Beshear said. “They’re not Democrat. They’re not Republican. They’re just good for everybody.”

Branham acknowledged that, in public service, working for the good of the community was essential.

“It’s okay to be partisan, but you’ve got to learn to put partisan behind [you] when you’re serving and when you’re working,” Branham said. “In the governor’s case, it’s the state of Kentucky. In our case, it [is] Clark County.”