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Beshear to Be Michelle Obama's Guest at State of the Union

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear are invited guests at tonight’s State of the Union address in Washington, D.C. 

Gov. Beshear will sit with First Lady Michelle Obama for the speech, along with other guests invited by the White House. 

The Governor was invited in recognition of Kentucky’s leadership in expanding access to affordable health care to tens of thousands of Kentuckians. Mrs. Beshear will be seated in the gallery. The speech is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on multiple television networks, radio stations and websites.

“Jane and I are honored to be guests of President and Mrs. Obama at the State of the Union address tonight.  We are also excited that Kentucky is being recognized nationally for its success in providing affordable health coverage to every single Kentuckian for the first time in our history,” Beshear said in a news release. “With the Affordable Care Act, we are changing the future of Kentucky.”

Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to the President, called the Governor Thursday afternoon to extend the invitation, which the Governor called “unexpected, but appreciated.”  He and Mrs. Beshear will fly to Washington later this afternoon.

Kentucky quickly emerged as a national leader in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  Gov. Beshear expanded eligibility for Medicaid and authorized a state-run health benefits exchange, called kynect.  Kentucky is the only southern state to do both.  As ofMonday, more than 182,000 Kentuckians have enrolled in new, affordable health insurance through kynect.  One in every four enrollments is for private insurance, and about a third of all enrollees are under the age of 35.

“The huge numbers we see in kynect indicate the pent-up demand for affordable health care in Kentucky, and we’re proud that our state is being recognized as a national leader on this topic,” Beshear said.  “This is a real honor for our state.”

From the Office of Governor Steve Beshear