Saturday, August 1, 2015
Bevin says Conway not qualified; Conway and Beshear say Bevin is not living up to his stated Christian values
By Cheyene Miller
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications
MAYFIELD, Ky. – The 2015 Kentucky governor’s race heated up just ahead of the annual Fancy Farm Picnic as both candidates leveled attacks against one another.
At a Republican dinner Friday night, Matt Bevin said of Democrat Jack Conway, “He’s not qualified to be the governor of this state” because of his lack of business experience.
“He never served this nation in the military. He’s never made payroll. He’s never worked in the private sector except a few months at a time working for his dad between political gigs,” Bevin told reporters after the Marshall County dinner. “He has no qualifications to be governor other than the fact that he is the result of a system that has groomed him for this from the time he was born.”
Conway fired back Saturday morning by touting his experience as a private-sector attorney and his fiscal responsibility as attorney general, nd questioning Bevin’s own qualifications. “I am one heck of a lot more qualified to be governor than Matt Bevin is,” Conway told reporters. He said Bevin “couldn’t even tell a group of retirees a few weeks ago” a key facet of concern about state pension funding.
“Matt Bevin has a platform on education that’s a bunch of platitudes that would decimate public education in this state,” Conway said. “Matt Bevin just a couple of months ago went on statewide TV and said early education serves no purpose. That doesn’t sound like someone’s who’s qualified to be governor to me.”
Bevin accused Kentucky Democrats of sweeping issues like the legislative sexual-harassment scandal under the rug during their longstanding dominance in Frankfort.
“I can’t imagine a locker room anywhere that you would find this kind of behavior let alone from elected officials in the state’s capital,” said Bevin in reference to the legislature’s recent settlement of a lawsuit by staff members claiming harassment by Democratic House members. “How shameful that we’re in a situation that we had to settle such a thing.”
Bevin and other Republicans at the dinner spoke about conservative values. “We need to stop apologizing for the Christian principles, the great American values that make this country great,” he said to applause.
Conway, at the Graves County Democratic breakfast, accused Bevin of not applying his Christian morals to his policies, saying that ending the Medicaid expansion that serves more than 400,000 would not be a Christian thing to do, and that voters should elect someone who “understands that the truly Christian thing to do is to say that we are our brother’s keeper and healthcare for our people makes us a healthier and better society.”
Bevin said for months that he would end the Medicaid expansion, but during and after a forum with Conway this week, he said he would transition the expansion clients to a less expensive program, perhaps like Indiana’s, in which clients can pay premiums to get better benefits and get refunds if they don’t use the benefits.
Conway based his message at the Democratic breakfast in Mayfield on whom voters could trust come November. He painted Bevin as an untrustworthy New Englander, a similar strategy used by Republicans last year when Bevin challenged U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear accused Republicans of trying to “put one over” on Kentucky citizens.
“Just last year they said, they told everybody in Kentucky that Matt Bevin was an east coast con man and a psychological [sic] liar. A year later, all at once, they’re telling us he’s somehow worthy of being governor,” Beshear said. “I believe in recycling as much as anybody, but this is ridiculous.”
He added, “The values that I was brought up with here by my dad and mom, those values of faith, family and hard work, are the same values that we instill in our two sons Jeff and Andrew. And now those same values are being instilled in our grandchildren. And I’ll tell you something, when you instill those values and you care about people, you end up being a Democrat.”