Five exchanges from the Oct. 28 governor debate

Published 4:02 pm Thursday, October 31, 2019

Noah Oldham

Contributing writer

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear sat down for a debate moderated by KET’s Renee Shaw on Monday night. Here are five exchanges that stood out.

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The debate began with Shaw asking Bevin if he believes educators deserve an apology for comments he has made about them, and whether he has ever said anything about an educator that he regrets.

“Nothing that I’ve said about educators do I regret,” said Bevin. “I have many, many choice words about the KEA, the teachers’ union. Not about teachers themselves.”

Beshear said that Bevin “absolutely” owes teachers an apology.

“After calling them thugs, after calling them ignorant, after saying that they caused the sexual assault of a minor simply for coming to the Capitol and standing up for public education, yes, they deserve an apology.”

Bevin made that comment in regard to a sickout and protest by teachers that prompted many school districts to cancel classes on short notice.

2. Gambling

The candidates debated expanding gaming and whether that could serve as a viable revenue stream.

Beshear said Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Tennessee are benefiting from expanded gaming, but Bevin said Beshear was exaggerating the potential benefits, and his plan would never pass the Republican-controlled legislature.

“The reality is that this will never happen,” said Bevin, noting that Beshear’s father had failed to expand gaming when Democrats controlled the state House.

“It is time for expanded gaming and people are ready,” said Beshear.

3. Pensions

The candidates argued over pensions and how they should be funded.

“What Matt Bevin doesn’t tell you about the pension crisis is all the cost is pushed down on cities and counties,” Beshear said.

Beshear said he plans to use all proceeds from expanded gaming, taxation of medical marijuana and repeal of some tax breaks to fund the pension system, which would free up money.

Bevin replied, “The reality is there a cost to providing pensions that has been ignored for year after year after year.” He added later, “I’m being honest with people. In the 21st century, we have to pay for the things we give people.”

4. Bevin’s Tax Returns

When asked if he would release his tax returns if he is reelected, Bevin said no.

“It is not tradition,” said Bevin. “We’ve had people who have done it, people who have not done it. I choose not to do it.”

“Every governor up to him has done it,” said Beshear. “He has refused to even answer the questions about what stock he owns.”

5. Rural Jobs

A question from a viewer asked what each candidate would do to attract jobs to rural areas and spread prosperity to these regions.

Beshear said that Kentuckians in rural areas have not seen higher wages or new jobs. He claimed that Kentucky should invest and create jobs in agri-tech.

Bevin said that Kentuckians’ average salary has increased, and 50 percent of new jobs have been outside the so-called “golden triangle” of Louisville, Lexington and Northern Kentucky.

The last debate between the candidates is on Oct. 29 in Covington. The election is Nov. 5.