Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Fletcher launches new era



By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FRANKFORT - On a day when gubernatorial power changed hands, the modes of Inaugural Parade transportation provided a stark indicator of who's staying and who's going.

Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who formally took over just after midnight Tuesday, grinned as he rode up Capitol Avenue with first lady Glenna Fletcher, seated atop the back seat of a sleek Corvette convertible.

Not far behind, outgoing Democratic Gov. Paul Patton and former first lady Judi Patton looked a little less excited from their perch in a Chrysler LeBaron convertible.

FLETCHER SPEECH
The full text of Gov. Ernie Fletcher's inauguration speech.
It was a new day for a new administration, and the Republicans were clearly enjoying themselves.

"There's going to be a change like we've never seen before," said Fourth District GOP Chairman Marc Carey. "The old way of doing business is over."

Carey was in Frankfort 36 years ago for the inauguration of Louie Nunn, Kentucky's last Republican governor.

"But I was playing saxophone in the Lloyd High School band," he said.

For Republicans, the pomp, parties and politics were the culmination of decades of battling what was once a mighty Democratic machine.

The victory was particularly sweet for Northern Kentucky, a region that helped fuel the rise of the Republican Party in Kentucky and delivered a 25,000-vote Election Day margin in Fletcher's win over Democrat Ben Chandler.

State Senate President Pro-Tem Richard Roeding, R-Lakeside Park, said the Republican administration would mean more money and attention for Northern Kentucky.

"For Northern Kentucky, it's going to bode well because (Fletcher) has already been talking about spending state money where he can expect a return on the dollar," Roeding said.

"And that will mean roads, and when the money is available, more things" for Northern Kentucky University.

For Williamstown resident Kim Sanders and her daughter, Nichole, the day meant a chance to be a part of history.

Nichole is a seventh-grader in Grant County's Williamstown High School band, one of several dozen school bands that marched in the inaugural parade. As she walked up Capitol Avenue playing the clarinet, her mother strolled alongside on the sidewalk.

"She was so excited about today," Sanders said. "She got up at 5 a.m. to catch a 6:15 bus to get here. We both couldn't wait because of all the history and festivities. This is her first time here and I know she'll never forget it."

A float packed with Boone County GOP party and elected officials and featuring life-size bobble heads of Fletcher and Uncle Sam represented Boone County.

Long-time Boone County GOP leader O'Dell Berry was dressed as Daniel Boone.

"Ernie Fletcher brought me back from the grave for this," Berry joked.

Kenton County was represented by a float that featured Kenton County Judge-executive Dick Murgatroyd, a key member of Fletcher's transition team.

The Campbell County High School Band, clad in their school colors of purple and yellow, also appeared in the parade.

Secretary of State-elect Tray Grayson, a Park Hills Republican, will be sworn into office Jan. 5. He was seated in a convertible with his wife, Nancy, and their young daughters, Alex and Kate. "It's extraordinary to be a part of all this," Grayson said.

Rabbit Hash resident Bob Schrage is a political junkie. He and Erlanger City Administrator Bill Scheyer have traveled across the country to attend political and government events.

Scheyer couldn't make Tuesday's inaugural, but Schrage was not about to miss it.

"I go around the country for this kind of stuff," said Schrage, the assistant director of the Northern Kentucky Area Development District. "Here I have one right in my own back yard."

E-mail pcrowley@enquirer.com




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