Citing a need to focus on her role as Lieutenant Governor, Jacqueline Coleman announced on Thursday that she is stepping down from her role as secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC). Deputy Secretary Mary Pat Regan will now head the Cabinet.
“There is so much work to be done in the education and workforce development arena to support an economy that is on fire,” Coleman said via video announcement. “While I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in a dual role in the administration, I know that seeing these commitments through requires a laser-like focus, so today I am saying farewell to my role as cabinet secretary because I know it is in good hands.”
Governor Andy Beshear highlighted economic developments at the start of his COVID-19 news conference including the BlueOval battery project near Elizabethtown. He cited new announcements and General Fund projections beyond analysts’ predictions as reasons for Coleman’s decision.
“With all of this opportunity, and there is a huge amount, I’m telling you it’s so much opportunity that in many ways we need more than one governor. Thankfully we have a governor and a lieutenant governor,” Beshear said while introducing Coleman’s video announcement.
He explained it was “a change that we’re making so she can help in this day-to-day process in making sure that every one of these economic opportunities, every one of these potentially commonwealth-changing opportunities – we’re seeing will be grasped.”
While Beshear did not have the day’s COVID-19 totals, he did announce an infant will account for one of the state’s new deaths. He said the child had underlying health issues, but the virus was a contributing factor. A person in their late teens or early twenties accounted for another new death.
Beshear stated that the state is prepared to vaccinate younger children within a day of approval by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Currently, only children between the ages of 12 and 18 can receive a Pfizer shot. FDA vaccine advisers will meet next week to consider expanding that availability to children as young as five.
The governor stated that Kentucky’s hospitalization rate is decreasing, dropping 19% in the past seven days.