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The following statement from Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear was written for iVillage in response to our Best to Worst States for Women ranking. Kentucky was in the bottom five worst states for women, ranking 46th out of 50. Read more about Kentucky here and see our methodology.
These [iVillage] rankings overlook a state’s innovative programs and initiatives in order to compare a standard set of statistics. Women and families are better positioned for success and health in our state now than ever before. I recognize the strength that women bring to our state, and have developed numerous initiatives to improve the lives of Kentucky women and children.
For example, my administration launched an aggressive campaign in 2009 to enroll all eligible children in state health insurance programs to ensure children receive the medical care they need. Since then, 52,000 more children have health insurance through the Kentucky Children's Health Insurance Program and Medicaid. At the same time, I authorized a pilot program in Eastern Kentucky to expand access to dental care and to train dentists in pediatric dental care.
Because Kentuckians need access to quality and affordable medicine, we launched the Kentucky Prescription Assistance Program to help needy Kentuckians get free and reduced-cost drugs from pharmaceutical companies. Since the program began in 2008, Kentuckians have received more than $60 million worth of needed medicines.
Recognizing the devastating impact that tobacco use has on Kentuckians, as well as the tremendous financial burden of related health care costs, my administration is the first to make needy Kentuckians eligible for tobacco cessation medications. Kentucky also raised the cigarette tax, which in particular lowers smoking rates among teenagers and pregnant women.
First Lady Jane Beshear has also made women’s health a key issue. In 2008, she founded the Horses and Hope initiative with the Kentucky Cancer Program (KCP). Horses and Hope provides breast cancer education, screening and treatment referral for the often overlooked members of Kentucky's horse industry and their families. To date, Horses and Hope has educated over 280,000 horse show and race track fans and has screened more than 350 equine workers.
Mrs. Beshear also began the annual “Shop and Share” drive in 2008 to provide domestic violence shelters with needed goods, such as canned foods, toilet paper and soap at Kroger grocery stores across the state. The goods benefit Kentucky Domestic Violence Association shelters. This program has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding and goods for domestic violence shelters.
Better Economic Opportunity
Last year, we launched Kentucky’s first Minority and Women Business Enterprise Certification Program. The goal of the certification program is to encourage growth among Kentucky businesses owned by women and minorities and to assist those enterprises in locating and obtaining further commerce opportunities.
Women in State Government
My staff includes many women, including my:
-- Secretary of the Cabinet and Budget Director
-- General Counsel
-- Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Development
-- Communications Director
-- Legislative Director
-- Scheduling Director
-- Secretaries of Tourism, Health and Family Services, Finance and Administration
-- First-ever female head of Corrections Department
First Lady Jane Beshear and I will continue to fight for programs that support women and families, because strong and healthy women are a key component of Kentucky’s success.
Follow Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear on Twitter @GovSteveBeshear.
SEE iVILLAGE'S 50 BEST TO WORST STATES FOR WOMEN HERE:
TOP 5 STATES | STATES 6-10 | STATES 11-15 | STATES 16-20 | STATES 21-25 | STATES 26-30 | STATES 31-35 | STATES 36-40 | STATES 41-45 | THE BOTTOM 5
See the intro | Read the methodology