Kentucky’s Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear has had his highs and lows. I’m sure no one took kindly to the fact that he ordered police to take down the license tags of parishioners who were out celebrating their Easter service. He then held a presser, where he called out those who were trying to defraud the unemployment benefits system by filing under false names, like Tupac Shakur.
“We had somebody apply for unemployment for Tupac Shakur here in Kentucky, and that person may have thought they were being funny, they probably did. Except for the fact that because of them, we had to go through so many other claims,” said the governor.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear went off on people using fake names to file for unemployment benefits, citing a person who filed as "Tupac Shakur."— Allan Smith (@akarl_smith) April 28, 2020
One problem: Tupac Shakur is a real Kentucky resident who was laid off. He's still waiting on those benefitshttps://t.co/v5TZtpR1eG
Gov. Beshear personally called Tupac Shakur to apologize on Tuesday.— Allan Smith (@akarl_smith) April 28, 2020
Shakur said he appreciated the apology, adding, “mistakes happen.” https://t.co/maWiyXYYxk
Well, the problem is that there is a man named Tupac Shakur in the state. He’s real, and he’s waiting on those benefits (via Lexington Herald Leader):
Tupac Malik Shakur, 46, goes by Malik. He lives in Lexington and worked as a cook at Alfalfa’s and Lynagh’s in Lexington before they closed to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
On March 13, the first day he could, he applied for unemployment insurance. On March 17, he got his monetary determination letter. He has been waiting on his unemployment money ever since.
“I’ve been struggling for like the last month trying to figure out how to pay the bills,” Shakur said.
Shakur said he’s been calling Frankfort frequently to try and figure out why his claim didn’t go through. He said he’s been wondering why it was being held up, but never would have guessed it’s because the education and workforce development cabinet thought it was a joke.
“I’m hurt, I’m really embarrassed and I’m shocked,” Shakur said. “He needs to apologize. That’s just my name.”
Beshear’s office originally said the state could not verify the identity on the application they received from a person named Tupac Shakur. The Herald-Leader gave the governor’s office Shakur’s phone number Monday night and the state is now working to resolve the claim.
Beshear called Shakur personally to apologize Tuesday morning.
Shakur said he appreciated the call and that he forgave Beshear for the error.
A record number of people have filed for unemployment in Kentucky — close to 24 percent of the state’s workforce. Beshear said Monday that the state processed 150,000 claims that were being held up Sunday night and that another 70,000 claims for people who applied for unemployment in March were being released.
So, yeah—a tragicomic incident for sure. The governor apologized and that’s the end of it. However, it just highlights the millions who have been laid off or furloughed due to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. The good news is that we appear to have flattened the curve due to social distancing protocols and a large swath of states can begin the slow process of re-opening.