Bevin visits Barbourville for community forum, exclusive interview
“It’s really humbling to run for office,” gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin told those that came to hear him speak last Thursday at the courthouse.
Bevin grew up as the second of six children and says he is grateful to his parents instilling good ethics in him and his siblings.
“We were raised to give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay,” he said. “You should never take a dollar that you didn’t earn. And your word is your bond.”
Bevin said he is proud to be raised in a home with strong Christian values.
“I’m not looking to be anyone’s moral or spiritual leader, but I’m unapologetic about the fact that the very cornerstone of the way I was raised and the principals that make this nation great were instilled in me from the time I was young.
“We should be a better version of who we are,” said Bevin. And I’m tired of electing people who have never worked in the real world. I’m tired of seeing more and more money squeezed from fewer and fewer people, trying to cover more and more needs. We’ve got to find a way to get more people engaged and more people working so that we can less from more people. That how this nation was intended to be.”
Bevin said he doesn’t need or want the governor’s job badly enough to misrepresent himself or what he believes in.
At this point, Bevin opened the floor for questions from the community.
Below is a summary of the questions and Bevin’s answers:
Community: What can we do as a state to push back the overregulation, not only on the coal industry, but on the banking industry?
Bevin: Let’s face it. We’re broke. We have the second worst credit rating in America. We’re also the sixth least solvent state. The question is not what the government can do for Eastern Kentucky, but what the government can stop doing for Eastern Kentucky. President Obama is bypassing the rule of law, bypassing the legislature and the Congress and simply telling people this is how it’s going to be. That’s not acceptable to me. As a governor of this state, I will not comply. I’m a believer in living under the law, whether I believe in the law or not. But, if it is not a legally binding mandate, we don’t have to comply. We don’t need that kind of intrusion in this state.
Community: What is your stand on healthcare?
Bevin: We cannot afford to have one out of every four people in this state on Medicaid. And yet we have a need. But, giving someone a Medicaid card does not necessarily mean they are getting access to healthcare. Increasingly, doctors are not seeing Medicaid patients. The state can apply for a 1115 waiver that allows you to get a block grant of funds, instead of putting people on traditional Medicaid. The state can get those funds and customize something that actually fits their state and their needs better.
Community: What is your stand on taxes?
Bevin: Taxes are too high in the state, but we need that revenue. I think we should bring down income taxes and bring down the corporate taxes. People are being forced to play a shell game with the inventory tax. People have to hide their inventory at tax time, only to have the inventory magically show back up. Why not have lower taxes and less regulations for all of us. Everybody will benefit. Kentucky is only one of six states left that have a death tax. People leave here to bury their family in other states. Why should we not keep that money here. These are things we should be eliminating.
Community: What is your opinion on moving the Jefferson Davis monument off of state property?
Bevin: We should be sensitive to things that are controversial. I would support it if the people decided they wanted it down. The people in this state have stated they want it left alone. I have no problem with that. But, I also would have supported it if they decided to put it in a museum. The important thing is that if we start to forget about our history and intentionally scrub our history out, that’s the beginning of the end.
Community: Do you have any plans to address how you will handle the drug overdoses in this area?
Bevin: The key is asking what is the root cause of this. When we live in economically troubled times where people don’t have the ability to work for a living, able bodied working men and women should not be sitting around at home doing nothing. It’s easy for someone on the outside to say to get off it and clean yourself up, but it doesn’t work that way. We need to broaden the economic platform, demanding more of people, giving them opportunities, and not allowing people to become financial wards sitting around and not feeling good about themselves. It costs less to rehabilitate someone than it does to incarcerate them. I believe in second chances. People who are non-violent and have certain classes of felonies and no victims should be given the chance to get back on the ladder of success.
Community: What do you think of common core standards?
Bevin: I’m not a fan of common core. We need to hold the bar high. Every community is not the same. Every state is not the same as every other state. Common core standards were designed by people who were not educators. We’ve turned teachers into administrators of tests and auditing them to death. Get their handcuffs off and stop regulating them by people who don’t even know anything about education. We need to get people who have actually been educators involved in this process.
Community: What’s your opinion right to work?
Bevin: Right to work is something that’s going to happen in this state, and it needs to happen. We’re the only state in the south right now that doesn’t have right to work legislation. And it’s killing us. We need jobs in this state. There are more than 20,000 jobs being created in Tennessee than in Kentucky, partly because of this single issue. We’re missing out on the union apprenticeship programs. We need people with skills. We could become the manufacturing hub of America. You can get 60 percent of the population within a day’s drive. Why should Kentucky not be a magnet for this? If we are the only state without right to work legislation, let’s get that done and let the jobs come.
Community: Where do you stand on the pension issue?
Bevin: The pension system is probably the number one crisis in the state, and we’ve been ignoring it too long. It will not make whoever takes it on a popular person. You’ve been led to believe the pension system is in better shape than it really is. It’s unsustainable. First, we need to audit every single pension plan through an outside auditor and stop the secrecy. We also need good 401K programs. We also need to give incentive to young people. Offer people a lump sum payment. They should be given the option. We’ll soon have fewer workers than retirees. We can’t afford to keep adding people to the system. Otherwise, we’re going to collapse.