Louisville Courier Journal Endorses Andy Beshear, Whose Vision Is “Right For Kentucky Families”
Yesterday, the Louisville Courier Journal endorsed Attorney General Andy Beshear’s campaign for governor.
The Courier Journal lauded Beshear for his plan to “prioritize education and economic diversification above all else.” The editorial goes on to praise Beshear for his “holistic vision for helping Kentucky’s families and for advancing the commonwealth.”
On the other hand, Bevin declined to meet with The Courier Journal, refusing to answer tough questions about his failed record and repeated false claims.
Read The Courier Journal’s resounding endorsement calling for a change in Kentucky leadership:
Louisville Courier Journal: Endorsement: Andy Beshear has the vision to lift families and transform Kentucky
Kentucky desperately needs a governor with a broad vision to move the commonwealth forward, especially in the critical areas of education and the economy.
The situation is dire.
One out of every 5.5 residents lives in poverty, and Kentucky is one of the least-educated states in America. As rapidly advancing technology transforms our nation and world, Kentucky is being left behind.
While Gov. Matt Bevin has made progress, particularly in job creation, the transformative change that Kentucky needs requires a leader who will prioritize education and economic diversification above all else. We believe Attorney General Andy Beshear is that leader. He has a holistic vision for helping Kentucky’s families and for advancing the commonwealth.
For these reasons, he earns The Courier Journal editorial board’s endorsement for governor.
This decision was not made lightly. Nor was it made based on partisan politics. This endorsement was based on months of study, an examination of platforms and positions and watching debates and TV spots.
We also have had a front-row seat these past four years of Bevin’s term in Frankfort, and our decision was not made based on the verbal blunders, dull-witted retorts and mean-spirited insults and attacks that have defined his tenure in the governor’s office.
No, this endorsement is about what’s best for Kentucky.
The editorial board reviewed both candidates’ visions on the most pressing issues facing the commonwealth. We also invited them to meet in person with The Courier Journal editorial board. Beshear accepted the invitation. Bevin declined. The governor also declined to share his views on such issues as the pension crisis, reproductive health and the minimum wage for The Courier Journal’s online voter guide at courierjournal.com.
“Gov. Bevin does not seek The Courier Journal’s endorsement,” we were told by a campaign official. That’s fine, Gov. Bevin. But your reticence also signals a brand of arrogance, preferring to dodge legitimate questions asked not exclusively by The Courier Journal, but thousands of Kentucky voters. We had three community roundtables, and these are issues dozens of attendees wanted you to address.
But moving Kentucky forward — to truly lift a commonwealth that has stagnated too long in too many economic, personal income and health categories — requires bold leadership that is lacking from Kentucky’s current governor.
It’s time for a change.
Beshear, on the other hand, says education will be his top priority if elected governor. He calls for fully funding every public school by increasing per-pupil spending. He plans to reduce class sizes, increase the number of school nurses and mental health professionals, improve facilities and supplies and expand career and technical education.
He also promises to include a $2,000 pay raise for teachers in his first budget. He says higher pay, student loan forgiveness and money for continuing education will help address Kentucky’s teacher shortage. And he’s pledging to lower the cost of attending college in the commonwealth, an important move to make higher education more accessible to Kentuckians.
They prefer Beshear’s proposal: More efforts to attract and retain teachers and more funding for public education. Funding for education made up 52% of the state’s budget in 1996-97. Now it’s at 43%. Kentucky’s public schools need more resources if they are to be successful.
While Bevin has made sure that all lottery funds go to education and has increased K-12 per-pupil funding, we’re concerned that he shifted millions in costs to public school districts, took away money for instructional materials and support programs and made cuts in higher education.
That’s not giving education the priority it needs in one of the least-educated states in the nation.
Beshear says he will pay for his education plan using existing dollars. Presumably, he will cut elsewhere in the budget to make it work. Budgeting is about priorities, and Beshear is right to put education at the top of the list.
Better-educated kids point to a brighter future for Kentucky.
Beshear also wants to generate new revenue, which could be used for education, by closing tax loopholes on luxury items. For example, he says there shouldn’t be a tax break for people buying yachts. We agree. He also would rescind Bevin’s proposed Medicaid work requirement, which would cost $271.6 million to launch, according to a federal report.
Bevin’s vision is for Kentucky to be “the undisputed center of engineering and manufacturing excellence in America,” but that doesn’t happen if you don’t prioritize education. Bevin has succeeded in bringing jobs to the commonwealth — more than 57,000 of them, he claims — and that’s commendable.
But many families are not reaping the benefits of the jobs that have been created. They are living in poverty. They are not experiencing the prosperity that Bevin is preaching.
Beshear’s plan is ambitious, and he will have to be creative to pay for it. Undoubtedly, we — and taxpayers around the commonwealth — will be watching closely how he finances his priorities. But that’s what Kentucky needs to pull its residents out of poverty and lift the commonwealth onto the national playing field, where it can compete economically in a global marketplace.
Beshear’s vision is right for families. It’s right for our commonwealth.
He earns The Courier Journal’s endorsement.