SPENCER COUNTY- It was a packed and friendly room for Gov. Matt Bevin's latest community forum in Spencer County.
Topics ranged from economic development, to pensions, to bringing in more tax dollars to the county.
In the crowd, was a familiar scene--a sea of red--but for a different reason. The group of women wearing red, were part of group of grandmothers caring for their grandchildren. They came to the forum to ask the governor for help solving the problems with kinship care.
The governor said they are working to solve the problem--but it's not a simple solution.
"I'm not offering an answer or solution here, I'm sharing with you that I understand the problem," he said. "We are trying to find a solution. We are adding money, as you noted, we are starting to put money into this. But we want to make sure we are spending it where we best get return on it."
The topic also moved to guns. Instead of the crowd calling on the governor to do more with gun control, they applauded him for being outspoken against the culture that created mass shootings. Bevin reiterated his claims to the crowd that the problem is the culture in the country.
"It's the idea that we don't value human life anymore, we have become desensitized. It bothers people to think about it, because it doesn't fit into a little box where we just pass another gun control law and take something away from someone," he said.
"We are hurting the people who are law abiding people. That's the sad reality of it."
Bevin went on to say the removal of religion from schools has, in part, caused the increase in violence.
"There is a direct correlation. There is. I would defy anybody to show me there isn't," he said. "Look at just the increase--there has been a vacuum created. You take away any sense of higher authority, or morality, you take away the idea that there is a higher authority."
Charter schools have dominated headlines as of late--most recently with Education Commissioner Dr. Wayne Lewis vowing to make funding charter schools a top priority for the Kentucky Department of Education during the upcoming legislative session. With that in mind--Spencer County Schools Superintendent Chuck Adams asked the governor to help grant public schools the same freedom that charter schools would be granted.
Gov. Bevin said he agrees there should be less red tape for the public school system to deal with.
"They are given leniency with respect to all the hoops you have to jump through, why shouldn't you be given the same? I agree completely," said Gov. Bevin. "We have started to undermine the effectiveness (of public schools) with all of these rules."
The governor found a friendly audience on another controversial issue--the implementation of the newly re-approved 1115 Medicaid Waiver known as Kentucky HEALTH. While there has been concern surrounding the impact implementing this waiver will have--those at the forum were supportive--even cheering as Bevin spoke of the need for it.
"I am offended at the idea that's its inappropriate to ask people to do something in exchange for something of value," he said."It's un-American of me to not demand that. To me it's insulting to working people to not ask that."
The next community forum will be held Friday morning at 9:30 am in Pendleton County at the Pendleton County Cooperative Extension Office, 46 David Pribble Drive, Falmouth.