As the days get shorter and colder in this season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I find myself reflecting on how truly blessed we are to live in the United States of America. As we approach the Christmas holiday, I am grateful for the opportunity and freedom we have to celebrate the birth of a Savior and the reminder to spread peace, joy, love and goodwill toward those around us.

In November 2015, you helped elect me to lead Kentucky as Governor. What a year it has been! I am thankful for the many Kentuckians I have been privileged to meet, the companies, large and small, that I have visited, and the stunning natural beauty I have witnessed from one end of the Commonwealth to the other. A new day is dawning in Kentucky and it promises to be a bright one!

Much was accomplished in our administration's first year. We enacted a fiscally conservative budget, contributed unprecedented funding to our struggling pension systems, implemented a Red Tape Reduction initiative (RedTapeReduction.com), passed a comprehensive Expungement Bill to provide a fresh start for felons who have fully paid their debt to society, and launched a $100 million Work Force Development program to help train Kentuckians for the 21st century jobs already available. We raised pay for State Troopers, social workers and transportation employees for the first time in a decade, cleared up the back log of rape test kits, and began a program called Fostering Success, to mentor those who have aged out of foster care and to help them better assimilate into their adult lives and careers. We also passed the first pro-life legislation in more than a decade and signed numerous other bills benefitting children and families.

Glenna and I are grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from across the Commonwealth and beyond. We remain humbled by the great responsibility that we have been entrusted with and look forward to being good stewards of that trust in the months and years ahead.

May you and those dear to you be richly blessed this Christmas and in the New Year to come.

Let freedom ring.

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