Gov.-elect Andy Beshear has assembled his transition team, a group of 163 people who will help put together the administration that will run Kentucky’s government for the next four years.
Beshear’s announcement comes a day after Gov. Matt Bevin conceded the election, which he lost by more than 5,000 votes last week but challenged the initial returns.
Beshear said that he would try to build unity by putting together a transition team that includes people from different parties, backgrounds and regions.
“It’s been one of the key pillars to our success. That we are stronger with people from different backgrounds and different ideologies. That we are stronger having people that are from different regions in this state and come from different cultures,” Beshear said.
Beshear’s transition team is made up of mostly people from Louisville, Lexington and Frankfort — at least 101 people in the 163-person group come from the I-64 corridor between Lexington and Louisville.
The group also includes many familiar names from the administration of Beshear’s father, Gov. Steve Beshear.
Former Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen will chair the transition team group focusing on the budget. Kerry Harvey, a former U.S. attorney who was a top lawyer in Steve Beshear’s health cabinet will chair the transition team focusing on the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.
Michael Brown, Steve Beshear’s justice cabinet secretary and Andy Beshear’s top deputy in the attorney general’s office, is the chair of the entire transition effort.
Brown called on the transition team members to work with the outgoing administration to help move the state forward “sometimes in a new direction, but sometimes keeping the train that’s already on the track on that track.”
Republicans on the transition team include former Louisville state Sen. Dan Seum, who recently stepped down from his seat, and state Rep. Travis Brenda of Cartersville, an educator who took office amid a wave of backlash to Gov. Bevin’s policies.
Beshear said that he wanted to create a group that finds points of compromise and mutual respect.
“It’s about admitting that yes, people from different political sides are not always going to agree. But we should certainly start finding common ground and working together. And when we disagree, it’s very important that we act with decency and civility,” Beshear said.
Beshear has not hinted at who he will tap to be secretaries of the twelve cabinets that make up Kentucky’s executive branch.
During the press conference on Friday, Beshear said that cabinet secretaries might come from within the pool of transition team members, or from outside.