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Name: Beshear, Steve
Current Position: Former Co-Chair

A longtime Kentucky politician whose career began in the mid-1970s, Steven Lynn Beshear serves as co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for 2011, along with his duties as governor of his state. Created in 1965, the ARC is an economic development partnership between the Federal government and the governors of the thirteen states in the Appalachian region. The president of the United States chooses one co-chair and the governors chose the other. Beshear represents the states.

A native of Dawson Springs, Kentucky, Beshear was born September 21, 1944, into a Baptist family of five children. His father, Russell Beshear, owned a furniture store. His father, uncle and grandfather were all lay ministers.
Bashear attended college at the University of Kentucky, where he was president of the student body and earned a bachelor’s degree in history (1966) and a law degree (1968).
From 1969 to 1975, Beshear served as an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army Reserve.
He briefly practiced law in New York with the firm White & Case, before returning to Kentucky. Beshear joined the Lexington law firm of Harbison, Kessinger, Lisle and Bush, and then formed the law firm of Beshear, Meng and Green.
His political career began in the state legislature, serving in the House from 1974-1979. From there, he ran for state attorney general, an office he held from 1980 to 1983. As attorney general, Beshear decided the state’s public schools could not display the Ten Commandments following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Stone v. Graham. He also clashed with first lady Phyllis George Brown over charging the state’s citizens an admission fee to view the renovated governor’s mansion.
It was then onto lieutenant governor (1983-1987), from which he hoped to springboard to the governor’s seat. But he lost a five-way Democratic gubernatorial primary in 1987, resulting in Beshear returning to private law practice for the next 20 years.
In 1996, he attempted a return to elected office by challenging Republican U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell. He lost.
Eleven years later, however, another opportunity presented itself. With Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher appearing vulnerable for reelection, Beshear entered another competitive Democratic gubernatorial primary, but this time he won his party’s nomination. He went on to unseat Fletcher in the 2007 governor’s race, winning easily 59% to 41%.
Beshear has been a member of the Bluegrass Tomorrow board of directors, Commerce Lexington, Inc., God’s Pantry Food Bank, Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, Kentucky World Trade Center, Midway College Board of Trustees and the University of Kentucky College of Law Visiting Committee.
Beshear and his wife, Jane, whom he married in 1969, have two sons and three grandchildren.
Official Biography (Governor’s Office)
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