In Conversation

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Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Attorney General Andy Beshear is locked in a close race with Republican incumbent Matt Bevin, according to a recent Mason-Dixon poll. With election day around the corner, WFPL’s In Conversation talked with Beshear about the race and his plans if he unseats Bevin.

Our guests were:

  • Attorney General Andy Beshear
  • WFPL Political Reporter Ryland Barton

Beshear says health care, pensions and education are important issues to Kentuckians, and many feel Bevin cannot effectively address those and other issues.

“What they’re looking for is a governor that listens more than he talks, a governor that solves more problems than he creates,” Beshear said. “They’re looking for someone that, instead of dividing us, can bring us together.”

Host Rick Howlett (Right) Attorney General Andy Beshear (Right)Kyeland Jackson | wfpl.org

Host Rick Howlett (left) with Attorney General Andy Beshear

Beshear has also been critical of Bevin’s education policies and his rhetoric toward teachers. 

Teacher protests of the state’s pension bill brought heavy criticism from Bevin, who said they broke the law. Beshear sued the Bevin administration for investigating the protests and has won support from the Kentucky teachers’ union.

On In Conversation, Beshear said if elected, he would immediately use his authority to restructure the state school board, rescind Bevin’s executive orders related to Medicaid and address inequalities in the state’s justice system, among other things. 

“We have disproportionate outcomes in our criminal justice. The numbers don’t lie, and we have to work every single day to change that,” Beshear said, adding that the state should re-evaluate incarceration laws and invest in disadvantaged communities.

Political Reporter Ryland Barton has been following the governor’s race, and says the state’s pension obligation has been a contentious topic in the state legislature. Barton said Governor Bevin has put more money into the pension system than his predecessors, and Beshear is focusing on potential new revenue to address pension needs.

“Now 15 percent of the entire discretionary state budget, the amount of money that lawmakers are dolling up between all the different parts of state government, is dedicated to the state’s pension system,” Barton said.. “[Beshear’s] proposal is to legalize casino gambling and tax it, and legalize online sports betting and all these other forms of gambling and taxing that money, to bring in more money to the state.”

WFPL asked Governor Bevin to be a guest on In Conversation, but his staff said his schedule is committed. .

Join us for In Conversation next week as we talk about Louisville Metro Animal Services’ new shelter and animal abuse registry.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.