This blog publishes coverage by students in an advanced journalism course in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications, part of the College of Communication and Information at the University of Kentucky. The instructors are John Winn Miller and Al Cross.
Monday, October 19, 2015
Major-party candidates for lieutenant governor debate education and other issues for an hour on KET
By Cheyene Miller
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications
Early childhood education has been a recurring talking point
for the Democratic gubernatorial ticket, but “wasn’t even on the radar” of the
Republican slate, its candidate for lieutenant governor said Monday night.
Overly, left, and Hampton(Lexington Herald-Leader photos)
Republican Jenean Hampton and Democrat Sannie Overly
rehashed arguments over education and several other key gubernatorial race
issues for an hour Monday evening on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight.” Independent Heather Curtis was not invited.
Half the time was spent on schools. Overly said that she and running mate Jack Conway released a
detailed education plan “to ensure that Kentucky kids get the very best
The state representative from Paris said she and Conway want
to oversee “a historic expansion” of early learning opportunities, and she
criticized Hampton running mate Matt Bevin for saying that programs like Head
Start serve no purpose because their impact disappears after the third grade.
Hampton said she and Bevin would take a close look at Head
Start’s results and make sure that the dollars are being spent “effectively and
Hampton questioned the efficiency of Head Start and pointed
out Kentucky’s low literacy rates. “That is simply offensive to even accept that,” she said.
According to Hampton, early childhood education was not the
issue of choice for her and Bevin’s campaign. “This is a non-issue for us,”
she said. “This wasn’t even on our
Overly said that there has been extensive research proving that Head Start “is the one thing that can break a cycle of poverty in a state like
Kentucky,” said Overly, adding that there are stark differences between the two
tickets on education, such as the Democrats’ support of, and Republicans’
opposition to, the Common Core State Standards.
“It’s not limited to early learning programs.”
The two women also sparred on how to improve business and
the economy in Kentucky, one of the poorest states in the nation.
Hampton, an industrial-process specialist, said she and
Bevin have more than 60 years of business leadership experience between them,
and would make Kentucky a right-to-work state and improve its ways to attract
While the candidates largely agreed on promoting Kentucky’s
tourist attractions, they took polar stances on raising the state minimum wage,
which currently reflects the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and $2.13
per hour for tipped workers.
“The minimum wage was never meant to be a livable wage,”
said Hampton, who said that minimum wage hikes have “disastrous effects” on
small businesses. She said it was better
to attract businesses and promote competition.
Ideally, Overly said, the federal government would raise the
minimum wage nationwide, but she and Conway favor a bill that would raise the
state minimum to $10.10 per hour over three years.
The candidates then tried to clarify for votes the reality
of the current state of the Kentucky economy.
Overly cited Kentucky winning Site Selection magazine’s
Governor’s Cup for expanded industry activity per capita in 2014 as a sign that
Kentucky is improving under a Democratic administration.
“Governor Beshear has
marketed our state very well through difficult times,” Overly said of her
fellow Democrat, who will leave office in December.
Hampton likened Kentucky’s financial status to the sinkhole
that swallowed eight cars at the National Corvette Museum in her hometown of
Bowling Green, saying it was “shiny on top but eroding underneath.”
Next Monday’s edition of “Kentucky Tonight” will features a
debate between Conway and Bevin with Bill Goodman moderating. The night before,
they will meet in a commercially televised debate at Eastern Kentucky