Beshear And Bevin Talk Bridges, Guns And Casinos In Final Debate Tuesday, Oct 29 2019 

Before a packed crowd at Northern Kentucky University Tuesday night, Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear capped off a series of five televised debates, making their final pitches ahead of next week’s election.

During the debate that aired on WLWT, both candidates said they would make it a priority to address the crumbling Brent-Spence Bridge that connects Covington to Cincinnati.

The issue has been a focal point for northern Kentuckians for years but has failed to get funding from the Ohio or Kentucky governments.

When pressed, Bevin said he would support tolling to help finance the bridge — a policy that has been unpopular with some local residents who use it frequently.

“You have, with technology, the ability to use variable tolling based on local traffic, through traffic, commercial traffic, private traffic but there’s no way around having some type of tolling on a bridge of this size,” Bevin said.

Beshear said that the bridge’s conditions are getting to the point where drivers should fear for their safety. He would not say whether he would support tolling on the bridge, but that the “people of northern Kentucky and not this governor” should decide how to finance it.

Bevin accused Beshear of not being capable of making difficult decisions.

The candidates differed on whether they would support gun restrictions like an assault weapons ban or a “red flag” law that would allow courts to temporarily take guns away from people deemed to be dangerous.

Bevin said he would not support new gun restrictions.

“You can poo-poo all you want, but the reality is it is an evil person who kills people, not the weapon,” Bevin said. “They can do it with a gun, they can do it with a knife, they can do it with vehicle. And if a person wants to kill another person, they can find a way.”

Beshear said he would support a red flag law, and when pressed he said he would not support an assault weapons ban.

WLWT Anchor Sheree Paolello, who moderated the date, noted that the candidates had “found some common ground.”

“Yeah, I think we backed into that one, didn’t we,” Bevin said.

The candidates also revived an argument over Bevin’s claim from over the summer that “every night somewhere in America somebody takes their life in a casino because they’ve wasted the last semblance of dignity.”

Bevin has provided no evidence for the claim and during a debate on Saturday denied ever making it.

During the debate on Tuesday, Bevin again doubled down on the issue, saying that people kill themselves in Las Vegas hotel rooms every other night.

“They’re doing it in hotel rooms, they’re doing it in bathrooms, they’re doing it off of parking garages. It is happening systemically,” said Bevin. “Look at the city of Las Vegas where every other night in a hotel room someone commits suicide in one city alone.”

Bevin has used the claim to attack Beshear’s proposal to legalize casino gambling in an attempt to raise money for the state’s ailing pension systems.

“Folks, this is someone who cannot admit when they have made something up and they’ve been caught,” Beshear said.

Republican leaders of the legislature have said Beshear’s casino gambling proposal is a non-starter.

Beshear And Bevin Bicker Their Way Through KET Debate Monday, Oct 28 2019 

Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear squared off in another gubernatorial debate Monday night, one of the last opportunities for voters to see the candidates make their cases before Election Day.

Bevin and Beshear bickered their way through the debate on KET, while moderator Renee Shaw repeatedly brought them back to substantive policy issues like how to raise more money for the state, how to address the state’s pension debt and whether to keep the state’s Medicaid expansion.

Shaw started off by asking Bevin if he regretted making inflammatory statements about teachers, which have dinged his popularity rating. Bevin said he did not.

“Nothing that I’ve said about educators do I regret,” Bevin said. “There are many things my opponent has said that I’ve said. I’ve made comments about people behaving in ways that were reprehensible that weren’t said about teachers.”

Last year Bevin accused teachers who called in sick to protest his policies in Frankfort of leaving children vulnerable to sexual abuse. He also compared teachers who oppose his pension policies to drowning victims, saying “you just need to knock them out and drag them to shore. It’s for their own good and we have to save the system.”

Beshear’s signature plan is to raise revenue for the state by legalizing casino gambling, even though Republican leaders in the legislature oppose it. Beshear said lawmakers would come around.

“No proposal has ever dedicated 100 percent of the funding of expanded gaming to the pension system,” Beshear said.

Whoever is elected will have Republican supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature when their term begins.

Leaders of the state Senate have said that Beshear’s proposal is “dead on arrival.”

Bevin said that Beshear’s list of priorities like giving teachers an across the board $2,000 pay raise and reverse cuts to higher education aren’t feasible.

“You’re promising things that cannot be delivered. You’re fighting a legislature, you said you’re going to actively work against your own supermajority legislature, you will not get this done,” Bevin said.

Bevin argued that the only way to raise more money for state coffers is to attract more businesses to the state, touting his plan to cut corporate and individual income taxes and increase the sales tax.

Beshear accused Bevin of pushing for a tax structure that solely benefits the wealthy.

“He thinks that they are a different class than other Kentuckians while he wants to raise the sales tax on all the rest of us,” Beshear said.

Early on in the debate, Bevin tried to clarify his claim from the WLKY debate last weekend that he never said that casino gambling leads to suicide every day.

Bevin said that he had never claimed people kill themselves “on a casino floor,” rather than “in a casino.”

“Which is entirely different from what you said repeatedly, even though I corrected you and you refused to allow me to qualify what I actually said by saying ‘on a casino floor.’ A casino floor is very different than a casino hotel room,” Bevin said.

The candidates have one more debate. On Tuesday night they will square off at Northern Kentucky University. Election Day is November 5.

Election 2019: Your Guide To The Candidates For Kentucky Governor Monday, Oct 28 2019 

Kentucky’s governor is the most powerful official in state government. The governor is in charge of managing the agencies that make up the various components of state government like health care, corrections, education and transportation.

The governor also plays an important role in crafting the state’s laws and spending plan, sometimes crafting bills and budgets for the legislature to consider or advocating for new laws. Once a bill passes out of the legislature, the governor can sign it into law or veto it in its entirety, or even veto just parts of the bill.

The governor can deploy a legal team to defend the state’s laws in court or file lawsuits on behalf of the state — a point that has become controversial in recent years as Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has criticized Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear for not defending some anti-abortion laws that have passed out of the legislature.

Bevin has been governor for four years. If he is reelected, he would be the first two-term Republican in state history (Kentucky governors have only been allowed to run for reelection since a 1992 amendment of the state constitution).

Bevin was inaugurated in 2015 after defeating then-Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway by 9 points, becoming only the third Republican governor of Kentucky since World War II.

Throughout his first term, Bevin has attempted to reshape the state’s Medicaid system by requiring beneficiaries prove they are working or in school to get benefits, he’s successfully advocated for putting more money into the state’s ailing pension systems and signed hundreds of bills into law.

Bevin received a political boon after his first year in office when Republicans gained control of the state House of Representatives for the first time in nearly a century, putting the legislature and governor’s mansion under Republican control for the first time in state history.

Since then, the legislature has approved and Bevin has signed many conservative measures, like a so-called “right-to-work” policy, a repeal of the state’s prevailing wage on public construction projects, an overhaul of the state’s workers compensation system and several anti-abortion laws.

Bevin has garnered attention for his combative demeanor and controversial comments he has made about opponents to his policy stances as well as judges and reporters.

Bevin once claimed that teachers who called in sick to protest his policies in Frankfort had left students vulnerable to sexual assault. He also recently claimed that every day in the United States, people kill themselves in casinos and then denied making the statement.

Bevin’s reelection opponent is Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear, the son of Bevin’s predecessor, former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear.

Beshear has filed several lawsuits against Bevin, challenging his use of executive power to reorganize several state boards, make mid-year budget cuts to state universities and investigate teachers who protested in the state capitol. Beshear also successfully sued to block a pension reform bill that Bevin signed into law in 2018.

Anti-abortion advocates have criticized Beshear for refusing to defend some of the state’s new abortion laws — like a ban on the procedure once a fetal heartbeat can be detected (as early as the sixth week of pregnancy).

Beshear also drew controversy after his top deputy Tim Longmeyer was convicted of federal bribery charges stemming from his time as secretary of the state’s Personnel Cabinet in former Gov. Beshear’s administration. Prosecutors said they had no evidence that either of the Besehar administrations knew about the scheme.

Bevin is 52 years old; Beshear is 41. Neither man had held political office before they were elected in 2015.

Here is where the candidates stand on some of the most important issues facing Kentucky. Responses are taken from several public appearances in recent months. Beshear recently participated in a 30-minute call-in show on WFPL; Bevin never responded to an invitation.


Matt Bevin:

“It wouldn’t bother me one lick if there wasn’t an abortion provider in this state. It wouldn’t. Our state wouldn’t be less well-served by that.”

“I’ve had people say to me time and again, ‘you’re not supposed to bring religion into politics.’ Let me tell you this, this has nothing to do with religion, nothing whatsoever. This has everything to do with morality, it has everything to do with ethics, it has everything to do with good versus evil and right versus  wrong. That’s exactly what this has to do. And the more you know scientifically, the more we know medically, the more it’s clear that whether you’re a person of faith or not, whether you’re religious or not, you cannot for one moment believe that we are not taking lives through the process of abortion. That’s exactly what it is, that’s only what it is. This idea that it’s not a human being, nonsense.”

Bevin made these comments during a campaign event at the Governor’s Mansion on Oct 11, 2019.

Andy Beshear:

“I support Roe v. Wade but I also support restrictions, especially for late-term procedures. But this governor is an extremist. He believes in a complete and total ban, even for victims of rape and incest. When you’re the attorney general, you work with victims of that trauma and they deserve options. Under this governor, a 13 year-old raped by a member of her own family and impregnated would have no options. I think that’s wrong.”

Beshear made these comments during a debate on WLKY on Oct 26, 2019.


Matt Bevin:

“The pension system has collapsed in Kentucky and public pension systems in America have and I’ll tell you why simply, in one minute. It’s tough. There used to be 30 people working for everybody that was retired. And then there were 20 and then 15 and then 12 and then 10. Social Security only has three and a half paying in for every one that’s retired. And nobody believes social security will last. But I’ll tell you what’s tragic is that Kentucky doesn’t have three and a half paying in, it has less than one. Less than one person paying in for everybody that’s retired. The system has collapsed. The only way to save it, to keep the promise that’s been made to people, the only way, is to change the structure for future employees. It is not possible to continue to promise future people the same thing that current and past people have been promised if there is to be any chance that any of them will get what’s been promised to them. It’s about math, it’s about finances, it’s about actuarial reality.”

Bevin made these comments during a debate on WLKY on Oct 26, 2019.

Andy Beshear:

“A pension is a promise. It is a promise we made to every teacher, police officer, firefighter and social worker. That although we don’t pay them enough for critically important work, we would make it up with a secure retirement. But this governor and the legislature broke that promise. They tried to illegally cut the retirements of over 200,000 public servants, and worse, they put it in a sewer bill. That shows you what they think of us. But we defeated them 7-0 in front of the Supreme Court. So what are they doing now? They’re pushing all of those costs down on cities and counties. And those cities and counties are trying to raise our taxes. Matt Bevin is raising our taxes to try to pay for this pension system.”

Beshear made these comments during a debate on WLKY on Oct 26, 2019.


Matt Bevin:

“We have to modernize our tax code. We have to bring ourselves into a more competitive relationship with the states around us. We need to move from more of a production-based economy to a more consumption-based economy. Stop taxing the job creators and the wealth producers. Let them keep the money, redeploy it and then we’ll tax it then. That’s how it gets done. Let them build things with that money, then indeed we’ll tax it and your school districts will benefit from that. Let them redistribute it in the form of pay to individuals who work for them, or to hire additional people or to expand their operations. And those dollars will circulate through the community and be taxed.”

Bevin made these comments during an event hosted by the Kentucky Association of Counties on Oct 23, 2019.

Andy Beshear:

“We need expanded gaming right here in Kentucky. It’s a way that we can create the revenue we need, dedicated revenue for our pension system.”

“[Gov. Bevin’s] tax proposal would harm almost all of us. He wants to cut taxes for him and his buddies — the wealthiest — I think he calls them ‘job creators.’ He thinks there’s two different classes of people, I don’t agree. At the same time he wants to cut their taxes, he wants to raise the sales tax on everybody else. I will never allow taxes to go up on those who are one paycheck away from falling into poverty. It is time for new, dedicated revenue. We’ve got more than $550 million just sitting out there for us to take advantage of. And to push costs down onto cities and counties and have them raise taxes. To talk about raising sales taxes when people are already struggling, that’s wrong.”

Beshear made these comments during a debate on WLKY on Oct 26, 2019.

Higher education funding

Matt Bevin:

“The career and technical colleges have seen more students than ever before because we’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars in training programs focusing on non-four year degrees. We’ve turned college education into an arms race. Four and five times the cost, but not four and five times the output. Would I love to see more money for higher education, of course I would. Will I make it a priority the extent we have the money, of course. But the reality is we have to spend money that we have and we can’t promise money we don’t have.”

Bevin made these comments during a debate hosted by the Paducah Chamber of Commerce on Oct 3, 2019.

Andy Beshear:

“We have priced higher education out of reach for so many Kentuckians. I think about my dad who grew up a poor preacher’s kid just down in Dawson Springs in Hopkins County. His dad worked hard, was able to afford the University of Kentucky for him, my dad paid his way through law school and became the governor of the commonwealth of Kentucky. That ought to be possible for everyone, but right now so many people couldn’t have afforded that higher education. I’ll tell you, I’m 41 years old — I won’t tell you how old my wife is — we’re still paying a student debt. That’s not how people should be living. Let’s also admit that we’ve got to get more kids in our technical schools and our community colleges. This governor has cut funding to those. We’ve got to increase it.”

Beshear made these comments during a debate hosted by the Paducah Chamber of Commerce on Oct 3, 2019.


Matt Bevin:

“We want not just health coverage, we want health outcomes and better health outcomes. And I believe that able-bodied working-age men and women, people who could go to work, people who don’t have dependents should be doing something in exchange for the free health care that the men and women who go to work every day to provide to them may or not have themselves that they’re paying for, I think everyone should be at the helm.”

“You talk about health care being a universal right, but it’s important to understand this. Somebody has to provide it. None of us have a right to force a person to go to medical school to provide medical services, we don’t have a right to force somebody to treat someone if it costs money. It may be a universal desire, but to call it a right is a bit difficult when it costs money and requires a person to do something to provide that right. I think the key here is to figure out how we can ensure that people who can do for themselves do do for themselves. And that we don’t just seek coverage, but we get better health outcomes. Kentucky HEALTH will get people engaged in their health outcomes because people that are engaged take better care of things, they do it with personal things, they do it with their own bodies, their own personal decisions.”

Bevin made these comments during a debate on WLKY on Oct 26, 2019.

Andy Beshear:

“I believe that health care is a basic human right. And that everybody should be able to take their parents or their kids to a doctor when they’re sick. That’s why I’m fighting both this governor and the federal government who are absolutely trying to tear away coverage for preexisting conditions.

“This governor’s expanded Medicaid waiver is cruel. It’s shown in Arkansas that the people it’s going to kick off their coverage are people who are already working. It just creates bureaucratic red tape and ultimately tears health care away from people.

“And what’d we learn just this last week? He’s going to spend $270 million of your taxpayer dollars just to kick people off health care. There couldn’t be a bigger difference between us in this race. I’m going to protect your preexisting condition coverage.”

Beshear made these comments during a debate on WLKY on Oct 26, 2019.

For more 2019 Election coverage, click here.

During Debate, Bevin Denies Linking Casino Gambling To Suicide Saturday, Oct 26 2019 

Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear participated in another televised debate Saturday night ahead of the Nov. 5 gubernatorial election.

Bevin and Beshear once again illustrated their sharp differences on issues like abortion, health care, taxes, and whether to legalize casino gambling to try and bring in more revenue for the state.

At one point Beshear criticized Bevin for making inflammatory statements like his claim from over the summer that casino gambling leads to suicide.

Bevin denied ever making the comment.

“I don’t know where this comment about the casinos comes from, I’ve never said anything like that, that’s absolute malarkey,” Bevin said.

Bevin made the comment during an interview on WKDZ in Cadiz in July.

Beshear has proposed dedicating tax proceeds from casino gambling for the state’s ailing pension system.

Expanded gambling has been proposed in Kentucky for years but has not gotten traction in the legislature. Republican leaders of the state Senate recently said the policy would be a non-starter.

On abortion, Beshear said that he supports the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that bans states from restricting abortions before the point at which a fetus could survive outside the womb.

Beshear called Bevin’s stance on abortion “extremist.” This year Bevin signed a law that bans the procedure once a fetal heartbeat can be detected — about the sixth week of pregnancy.

“Under this governor, a 13 year-old raped by a member of her own family and impregnated would have no options. I think that’s wrong,” Beshear said.

Bevin said that Beshear is “pro-abortion,” and said that he stands by his record.

“It is critical that you be honest about the fact that you are pro-abortion and stop trying to couch it in all these safe little comments and trying to find examples where there might be an exception for this or that,” Bevin said.

Bevin also stood by his proposal to reshape the state’s Medicaid system by requiring able-bodied people to prove they are working, in school or volunteering in order to keep their benefits.

“I believe that able-bodied working age men and women, people who could go to work, people who don’t have dependents, should be doing something in exchange for the free health care that the men and women who go to work every day, that they might not have themselves, that they’re paying for,” Bevin said.

Beshear called Bevin’s Medicaid plan “cruel.”

“It just creates bureaucratic red tape and ultimately takes health care away from people,” Beshear said.

Bevin and Beshear will participate in two more debates before the election — the KET debate on Monday night in Lexington and a debate at Northern Kentucky University on Tuesday night.

Donald Trump Jr. Headlines Sparsely-Attended Bevin Rally In Pikeville Thursday, Aug 29 2019 

The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., headlined a sparsely-attended campaign rally for Gov. Matt Bevin in Pikeville on Thursday. It was the latest in a string of events attended by President Trump and his surrogates supporting Bevin’s reelection bid.

Bevin is facing a tough race against Democratic rival Andy Beshear and is trying to rally support in eastern Kentucky, which used to be a Democratic stronghold but has trended Republican in recent years.

Trump Jr. spent much of his speech criticizing Democratic presidential candidates and urged the audience to continue eastern Kentucky’s trend towards the Republican Party.

“What would your grandfather say about today’s Democratic platform?” Trump asked. “This is not your grandfather’s Democrat Party. Not even close. This is socialism pushing on communism.”

Only about 200 people attended the event, which was held in Appalachian Wireless Arena.

Last week, President Trump headlined a private campaign event in Louisville supporting Bevin. The White House has also sent Vice President Mike Pence and Ivanka Trump to attend campaign events with Bevin this year.

Pikeville and much of eastern Kentucky used to be a stronghold for Democrats in the commonwealth, but the region overwhelmingly voted in favor of Donald Trump during the 2016 election.

Bevin is trying to bolster support in the area after losing much of it to Republican challenger Robert Goforth during this year’s primary election.

Goforth is a relative political newcomer but garnered 39 percent of the vote statewide during the primary election.

At the rally, Bevin called on the audience to vote for him based on his stances opposing abortion and so-called “sanctuary” cities, while supporting the president and the rights of gun owners.

“Those values are not unique to any one party, but increasingly at the national level they all find themselves on one side,” Bevin said.

“I’m asking you, truly, in this race, in this election November 5, please I’m asking you: vote your values, not your party.”

Bevin is the most unpopular governor in the country according to a recent poll conducted by Morning Consult, partly due to a series of gaffes and inflammatory comments about teachers.

DeRonda Smith, a retired teacher from Hazard, said after the rally that Bevin unjustly “gets a bad rap” from teachers.

“I don’t think they really see what he’s trying to do for them. He’s trying to better their retirement,” Smith said. “People don’t like change. Change is never easy for anyone. That’s why he gets a finger pointed at him.”

Sam Newton, spokesperson for Beshear’s campaign released the following statement after Bevin’s rally:

“Matt Bevin’s small and poorly attended political event will do nothing to make the families of Eastern Kentucky forget how he’s attacked public education, ripped away health care, and insulted teachers,” Newton wrote.

“Under Governor Bevin, many Eastern Kentucky families are making less every year. And Bevin has still failed to explain why his administration ignored a paycheck protection law for nearly 1,000 miners — and could have paid the Blackjewel miners in Harlan.”

Poll: Matt Bevin Still The Most Unpopular Governor In U.S. Thursday, Jul 18 2019 

Gov. Matt Bevin is again the most unpopular governor in America and is getting less popular according to a new poll.

Bevin was first elected in 2015 and is seeking reelection this year, trying to become the first Republican governor in state history to serve two terms.

According to the new poll by Morning Consult, Bevin has a 56 percent disapproval rating and 32 percent approval rating.

Notably, Bevin has a 40 percent disapproval rating among Republicans following this year’s primary election, where relatively unknown challenger Robert Goforth, a state representative, won 39 percent of the vote to Bevin’s 52 percent.

Bevin’s approval rating has gone down four points since earlier this year, when the polling firm first tagged him as the country’s least popular governor.

Kentucky’s race for governor is rated as a “tossup” by Cook Political Report, which monitors elections across the country.

His opponent this year is Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear, son of Bevin’s predecessor, Gov. Steve Beshear.

Morning Consult did not rate Beshear’s popularity or ask voters who they would prefer in a head to head match up between Bevin and Beshear.

During Bevin’s first term, Republicans have logged big political successes — winning control of both chambers of the legislature for the first time in state history and passing a variety of conservative initiatives.

But Bevin has also drawn fire from teachers and state workers for his attempts to overhaul Kentucky’s pension system and a series of inflammatory remarks about his political opponents.

The Morning Consult poll also rated U.S. Senators, and Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell is once again rated as the least popular senator in the nation, with a disapproval rating of 50 percent. Sen. Rand Paul has a disapproval rating of 39 percent.

Morning Consult said it surveyed 9,474 likely Kentucky voters over the last three months.

Bevin And Beshear Clash At Kentucky Farm Bureau Forum Wednesday, Jul 17 2019 

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear clashed over education, health care and pensions at a forum hosted by the Kentucky Farm Bureau on Wednesday.

The rivals in Kentucky’s race for governor touted their rural roots and played up stark differences in their personalities and policy proposals.

Beshear attacked Bevin for supporting charter schools, saying that the institutions would run traditional public schools “out of town.”

“What happens in your communities when the lights go off in your public schools and they never come back on,” Beshear said.

Charter schools are publicly funded, but are directly managed by independent organizations instead of local school districts.

Lawmakers passed a law in 2017 allowing charter schools in Kentucky, but the legislature has declined to pass a funding scheme for the institutions. No charter schools have opened in the state.

Bevin called Beshear’s critique “nonsense,” arguing that charter schools would provide competition for low-performing schools.

“We’re standing right now in a county where 70 percent of black children cannot read at grade level. Don’t tell me we’re serving these kids well. We’re failing them, it’s an abject failure,” Bevin said.

During a news conference with reporters after the debate, Bevin said that most teachers appreciate his administration’s advocacy for pension funding and criticized those who don’t.

“These things are the things that, I’ll tell you what, most teachers understand. Are there some that are angry for reasons that they don’t even fully understand, seemingly so,” Bevin said.

Beshear attacked Bevin for his proposal to require able-bodied people on Medicaid to prove they are working, volunteering or in school in order to keep their benefits.

Bevin said that “people who want the free lunch” don’t appreciate the state’s current trajectory.

“I can’t believe he would stand here quite seriously and say it’s inappropriate to ask able-bodied men and women, who have no children, to do something in exchange for free health care,” Bevin said.

Both men refused to characterize President Donald Trump’s controversial tweets attacking four minority congresswomen as “racist,” though Beshear did call the comments “ugly.”

“I don’t think anybody should ever be told to go back to another country. Those are U.S. citizens, they ought to be treated with respect,” Beshear said.

Bevin defended Trump and chided a reporter for asking about the tweets.

“Do I think the president is racist? Absolutely not. I know him personally, he knows me and my family personally,” Bevin said. “Anybody, like yourself, who is trying to imply that is literally just trying to be divisive. Shame on you.”

At several points during the forum, Bevin brought up former Gov. Steve Beshear, the attorney general’s father, accusing the former governor of leaving the state in disarray.

“The previous Beshear that you mentioned left this state and me as governor saddled with $6 billion in deferred maintenance on bridges alone,” Bevin said. “This is not acceptable. We can’t keep kicking cans down on the road. We have to make hard decisions. It’s easy to sit up here and make promises but they have to be paid for. At the end of the day, everything has to be paid for.”