ASHLAND, Ky. - Kentucky Democrats say Gov. Matt Bevin “confronted and insulted” teachers in Eastern Kentucky over the weekend and they have the video to prove it.
They released two videos from a tracker from Washington D.C. based Super PAC American Bridge showing Bevin speaking with protesting teachers.
Bevin was in Ashland Saturday to make an announcement on transportation funding to the area when a group of teachers protested his announcement, chanting “Eastern Kentucky is not for sale”. The first video shows Bevin going over to speak to the group of protesting teachers and while it’s hard to make out what he is saying through the chants, he tells the teachers to come and ask questions if they have any. An unnamed teacher insinuates Bevin only wants to speak with them because it’s 30 days from the election.
“The things we are about to announce are actually good,” Bevin he says before walking away. “If you genuinely cared about this town you would be on the other side.”
KDP says Bevin went on to insult teachers from the podium and released a second video of a little more than a minute of his speech.
“I’m going to be here for about 40 minutes and I’m going to take questions about anything,” Bevin says. “The only reason you are on that side of the street is because you want to be.”
Bevin goes on to address the teachers before moving to the funding announcement.
“Any child who acted this way in recess or in your schools, you would not accept it. And the fact, that as adults, you’re modeling this for the children that are here, says a lot more about why you’re really here.”
Andy Beshear and the Democratic Party have made much of the campaign about Bevin’s reputation with public education and teachers through his tenure as governor. Bevin has often been at odds with educators over pension reform and comments made about striking teachers.
The Beshear campaign has released two ads featuring carefully cut snippets of Bevin speaking about teachers, including his comments in 2018 that went national saying he “guarantees” some children were “sexually assaulted” after almost all school districts in the state were closed as thousands of teachers took to the state capitol to protest a pension reform bill.
The Bevin campaign has tried to distance themselves from these accusations, releasing an online video highlighting the work he’s done to fully fund teacher’s pensions and increase funding to public schools. Bevin says these “lies and half-truths” are only being released to distract from the “rampant corruption” in the Beshear family.
The Republican Party of Kentucky amounts the videos to Democrat's "insincerity" on education.
The impact of the teacher vote is still yet to be seen. In 2018, teachers and Democrats used the phrase "Remember in November" to excite Democratic voters after Republicans rushed through a now-struck down pension reform bill changing the Teachers Retirement System. Despite the chants and signs, Republicans held their supermajority in the Kentucky House and picked up a seat in the Kentucky Senate.
The release of the videos coincides with the launch of a statewide “Won’t Be Bullied by Bevin” tour featuring teachers and local lawmakers. The tour begins Wednesday in Henderson.