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Beshear breaks ground on new Allen County manufacturing plant, downplays presidential jabs

Lisa Autry

Allen County is celebrating its largest economic development project in more than a decade.

Belmark, which manufactures printed labels, flexible packaging, and folding cartons, broke ground Wednesday on its first Kentucky location. Gov. Andy Beshear said the Scottsville facility will hire 159 full-time workers.

“The average wage is $37 dollars an hour, including benefits," Beshear said. "This is going to provide a lot of great reasons for people living in this county to work in this county.”

Wisconsin-based Belmark will build the new plant on 25 acres in the Allen Springs Industrial Park. Construction is expected to be completed in 2026.

The announcement was overshadowed by recent doubt about President Joe Biden's ability to serve another term, and Beshear being mentioned as a possible replacement for Biden.

"I have never shared the podium with a governor and I've had a few nerves the last few weeks," said Chairman Adam Tabor of the Allen County/Scottsville Industrial Development Authority. "Governor, the last ten days, the additional publicity has not assuaged those nerves at all."

The Democratic governor, who has twice been elected in a solidly red state, was in Washington, D.C. last week for a meeting with Biden. He and several other Democratic governors met with Biden following his poor debate performance with former President Donald Trump.

State Sen. Max Wise, a Republican from Taylor County, spoke at the groundbreaking after Beshear and alluded to the governor's national fame.

"I don't think I ever followed a presidential candidate, vice presidential candidate, or rumors of a presidential candidate before, but thank you, Governor, for being here," quipped Wise against laughter and applause from the crowd.

"Woah, I'm happy to be governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky," rebutted Beshear as he shook his head.

During questioning from reporters after the event, Beshear reiterated that he's "vested" in Kentucky.

"It's flattering to hear your name when it comes up, but I think it's because we're having such success as a state, and everybody gets credit for that," Beshear said. "The only way I would ever consider anything other than finishing out this term, is if I felt there was a way to help Kentucky in even a greater way."

Later this month, Beshear is scheduled to visit Iowa to give the keynote address at a fundraiser hosted by the state's Democratic Party.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.