FRANKFORT, Ky. - As the days count down to the general election, public education is becoming a major talking point of both gubernatorial campaigns.
Democrat Andy Beshear released his third television ad of the general election Monday, it’s called "Lights Out" and eludes to public schools shutting their doors if Matt Bevin is given another four years.
The ad begins with Lt. Governor Candidate Jacqueline Coleman narrating, “Imagine having just one school in your community, and the lights are turned off forever.”
Then Beshear adds, “That could happen with Governor Bevin’s education cuts.”
Matt Bevin is refuting the claims in the commercial, and in an unusual move called a news conference Monday afternoon to slam the ad, and showcase his three-minute video titled, “The Truth” that will be shared online. This video highlights the work that he's done on public education since being governor while slamming former Governor Steve Beshear.
The ad begins saying “truths” and highlights three things Bevin has done to help public education. The ad says he is the first governor to fully fund the pension system and not sweep the lottery funds. The ad says since becoming governor, he has devoted 100% of the lottery funds toward education and Kentucky is now spending more per pupil on K-12 education than ever before.
Bevin said he had to respond to the ad so people would stop believing the lies being put out by the Beshear campaign.
“The timing of this is again is appropriate, given the lies and the distortion have ratcheted up, don’t kid yourself, it's being done as a distraction to hide from the corruption, the rampant corruption that has existed in the Beshear family specifically,” Bevin said. “This is only going to get ratcheted up and the amount of scare tactics that are going to come from the Democrats are going to continue to be full of lies and half-truths.”
Last week, Beshear unveiled his plan to increase teacher pay by $2,000 across the board. The plan would cost an estimated $84 million which Beshear said he would pay for my making it a priority, and by cutting excessive salaries of cabinet officials.
Bevin slammed that idea Monday.
“He’s doing what his father did, he’s lying to people. He’s giving the impression that he’s advocating for people when he is not, there is no way he can begin to deliver on that without taking the money from somewhere else,” Bevin said.
Bevin went on to slam the Beshear’s as being corrupt.
“The Beshear’s have been corrupt and dishonest and have cheated the people of Kentucky and served their own selves and their friends, and that of their appointees,” Bevin said. “This is a rampant problem, the amount of corruption is systemic and it needs to be weeded out.”
Bevin also attacked the leadership at the Kentucky Education Association for their support of Andy Beshear. The organization announced its endorsement of the Democrat in the gubernatorial race earlier this year.
“It’s about them having control over the union dues associated with their organization,” Bevin said. “It’s about power, it’s about money.”
The Beshear campaign is responding to Bevin’s criticism.
“Matt Bevin can’t run and hide from his disastrous record of bullying teachers, tearing down public education, and trying to illegally cut pensions,” said Beshear/Coleman Campaign Manager Eric Hyers in a statement. “Instead of holding wild and unhinged press conferences, this governor should explain why he spent last month insulting, investigating and threatening to fine teachers. Andy Beshear is focused every day on doing right by our public schools, protecting public pensions, and giving our teachers the raise they deserve.”