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Beshear Responds to Effigy Hanging; NKY COVID-19 Cases at 1,150

Governor Andy Beshear spent part of his press briefing on Tuesday, in which he offered updates on COVID-19 in the state, to address a weekend protest at the Capitol that included the hanging of an effigy of Beshear.

Beshear criticized the hanging and the protesters who came close to the Governor's Mansion where his wife and two young children live with him. The Beshears are the first family to live full-time at the mansion in more than thirty years, the governor said.

“I worried about a number of things. How would living in the community – with their dad as governor – affect my kids? What would it feel like to live in a house where people toured several days each week?,” Beshear said. “One thing I never thought about, never questioned, was their personal safety. While I worried kids might be mean to them from time to time, I did not consider they might be bullied or heckled by adults.”

The governor noted that his administration had offered the demonstrators a drive-up protesting permit but the organizers declined. He described how a right-wing militia group marched onto the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion.

“And there, just a windowpane away from where my kids often played, they chanted and heckled,” Beshear said. “While they were thankfully not there, I want to remind you my kids are 9- and 10-years old.”

The governor called out the members of the group for engaging in acts meant to intimidate as well as politicians and officeholders who have encouraged them. He noted that some politicians, including Northern Kentucky lawmakers Rep. Sabannah Maddox (R-Dry Ridge) and Sen. John Schickel (R-Union) participated in a rally weeks ago at the Capitol where the governor said that he was criticized as a non-Christian and in support of killing babies. "What did you think was going to happen after throwing out these types of claims to this group?"

“You cannot fan the flames and condemn the fire,” Beshear said.

Schickel criticized the effigy hanging in a Twitter post on Monday.

"What occurred yesterday at the rally in Frankfort is unacceptable and has no place in Kentucky political discourse," Schickel said in the tweet. "I strongly condemn the violent imagery against our governor at yesterday’s protest."

Maddox ended up in an online scuffle with Kentucky Sports Radio personality Matt Jones (@kysportsradio on Twitter). "I won’t hold my breath waiting for @KySportsRadio to apologize for intentionally misleading people into thinking that I attended Sunday’s rally, or am in any way affiliated with or condone malicious behavior toward anyone," Maddox wrote.

"I condemn hatred of any kind, but I marvel at the hypocrisy of those who have decried yesterday’s incident as “hateful” and then proceeded to litter my social media outlets with vile slurs about me and my family."

Gov. Beshear said he would remain undaunted.

“I owe it to the people of Kentucky to not bow to terror, but keep doing what’s right for our citizens,” the governor said. “Living my faith means I have to face adversity without losing my values.”

Meanwhile, in Northern Kentucky, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 1,150 over the Memorial Day weekend, health officials said on Tuesday. For the first time, the Northern Kentucky Health Department also released a number of how many people have recovered from the virus in this four-county region.

547 people here have recovered.

57 people have died.

More businesses also came back online this week, following the return of indoor dining at 33 percent capacity on Friday. Barbers, hair salons, nail salons, tanning salons, acupuncture services, massage therapy and tattoo parlors are now able to operate again.

“Things may feel like they are getting back to normal as businesses reopen, but until there is an effective treatment and vaccine for COVID-19, we all must take steps to protect ourselves and others," said Dr. Lynne Saddler, Northern Kentucky district director of health.

Beshear said there were at least 8,951 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 387 of which were newly confirmed through the Memorial Day weekend. That included 141 positive cases reported Sunday, 122 cases reported Monday and 117 cases reported Tuesday.

“These are some of the lowest daily numbers we have seen,” the governor said. “But that is fragile, and with a disease that can so easily spread we have to want and put into action our desire to see that downward movement.”

Three new deaths were reported on Tuesday, raising the total to 394 Kentuckians lost to the virus.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

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