Fletcher appeals for help

By BETH CRACE State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Kentucky's governor-elect was in Frankfort Wednesday to meet with Republican and Democratic legislators as he prepares for the task of running the state.

Republican Ernie Fletcher, who on Tuesday beat out Democrat Ben Chandler for Kentucky's top office, also was offered advice from current Gov. Paul Patton, who has served two terms and under state law could not seek the office again.

"I think the people of Kentucky want change in Frankfort," Fletcher told reporters during a press conference later in the afternoon. "I think that's a message to Republicans and Democrats."

Fletcher is the first Republican to be elected governor in 32 years. He said he woke up early Wednesday, though he planned to sleep in, and immediately checked newspapers "to make sure it wasn't a dream."

He said he'd received congratulations from President Bush, who made three campaign stops to Kentucky on Fletcher's behalf. The three-term congressman said he'd also received calls from colleagues in Washington as well as other Republican governors, Jeb Bush, of Florida, Mitt Romney, of Massachusetts, and movie-star-turned California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Currently, Fletcher is faced with putting together a transition team to prepare for a new administration, choosing a staff and drafting a state budget before the General Assembly convenes in January.

Fletcher's inauguration is Dec. 9.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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