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Candidate Conversations: Governor

Renee Shaw hosts a conversation with candidates for Governor of Kentucky in the 2023 general election. Guests: Governor Andy Beshear, Democrat incumbent and Attorney General Daniel Cameron, Republican candidate.
Season 30 Episode 29 Length 56:33 Premiere: 10/23/23

About

Kentucky Tonight

KET’s Kentucky Tonight, hosted by Renee Shaw, brings together an expert panel for in-depth analysis of major issues facing the Commonwealth.

This weekly program features comprehensive discussions with lawmakers, stakeholders and policy leaders that are moderated by award-winning journalist Renee Shaw.

For nearly three decades, Kentucky Tonight has been a source for complete and balanced coverage of the most urgent and important public affairs developments in the state of Kentucky.

Often aired live, viewers are encouraged to participate by submitting questions in real-time via email, Twitter or KET’s online form. Viewers with questions and comments may send an email to kytonight@ket.org or use the contact form. All messages should include first and last name and town or county. The phone number for viewer calls during the program is 800-494-7605.

After the broadcast, Kentucky Tonight programs are available on KET.org and via podcast (iTunes or Android). Files are normally accessible within 24 hours after the television broadcast.

Kentucky Tonight was awarded a 1997 regional Emmy by the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The series was also honored with a 1995 regional Emmy nomination.

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Renee Shaw is the Director of Public Affairs and Moderator at KET, currently serving as host of KET’s weeknight public affairs program Kentucky Edition, the signature public policy discussion series Kentucky Tonight, the weekly interview series Connections, Election coverage and KET Forums.

Since 2001, Renee has been the producing force behind KET’s legislative coverage that has been recognized by the Kentucky Associated Press and the National Educational Telecommunications Association. Under her leadership, KET has expanded its portfolio of public affairs content to include a daily news and information program, Kentucky Supreme Court coverage, townhall-style forums, and multi-platform program initiatives around issues such as opioid addiction and youth mental health.  

Renee has also earned top awards from the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), with three regional Emmy awards. In 2023, she was inducted into the Silver Circle of the NATAS, one of the industry’s highest honors recognizing television professionals with distinguished service in broadcast journalism for 25 years or more.  

Already an inductee into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame (2017), Renee expands her hall of fame status with induction into Western Kentucky University’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni in November of 2023.  

In February of 2023, Renee graced the front cover of Kentucky Living magazine with a centerfold story on her 25 years of service at KET and even longer commitment to public media journalism. 

In addition to honors from various educational, civic, and community organizations, Renee has earned top honors from the Associated Press and has twice been recognized by Mental Health America for her years-long dedication to examining issues of mental health and opioid addiction.  

In 2022, she was honored with Women Leading Kentucky’s Governor Martha Layne Collins Leadership Award recognizing her trailblazing path and inspiring dedication to elevating important issues across Kentucky.   

In 2018, she co-produced and moderated a 6-part series on youth mental health that was awarded first place in educational content by NETA, the National Educational Telecommunications Association. 

She has been honored by the AKA Beta Gamma Omega Chapter with a Coretta Scott King Spirit of Ivy Award; earned the state media award from the Kentucky Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 2019; named a Charles W. Anderson Laureate by the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet in 2019 honoring her significant contributions in addressing socio-economic issues; and was recognized as a “Kentucky Trailblazer” by the University of Kentucky Martin School of Public Policy and Administration during the Wendell H. Ford Lecture Series in 2019. That same year, Shaw was named by The Kentucky Gazette’s inaugural recognition of the 50 most notable women in Kentucky politics and government.  

Renee was bestowed the 2021 Berea College Service Award and was named “Unapologetic Woman of the Year” in 2021 by the Community Action Council.   

In 2015, she received the Green Dot Award for her coverage of domestic violence, sexual assault & human trafficking. In 2014, Renee was awarded the Anthony Lewis Media Award from the KY Department of Public Advocacy for her work on criminal justice reform. Two Kentucky governors, Republican Ernie Fletcher and Democrat Andy Beshear, have commissioned Renee as a Kentucky Colonel for noteworthy accomplishments and service to community, state, and nation.  

A former adjunct media writing professor at Georgetown College, Renee traveled to Cambodia in 2003 to help train emerging journalists on reporting on critical health issues as part of an exchange program at Western Kentucky University. And, she has enterprised stories for national media outlets, the PBS NewsHour and Public News Service.  

Shaw is a 2007 graduate of Leadership Kentucky, a board member of CASA of Lexington, and a longtime member of the Frankfort/Lexington Chapter of The Links Incorporated, an international, not-for-profit organization of women of color committed to volunteer service. She has served on the boards of the Kentucky Historical Society, Lexington Minority Business Expo, and the Board of Governors for the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. 

Host Renee Shaw smiling in a green dress with a KET set behind her.

Transcript of Candidate Discussion

Renee Shaw: Good evening. Welcome to Kentucky Tonight, I’m Renee Shaw. Thank you so much for joining us this evening. One of the men joining us this evening will serve as governor of Kentucky for the next four years and will make decisions effecting you about taxes, jobs, education, crime, health care, social issues and more. We’ll discuss those topics for the next hour with our guests: Governor Andy Beshear, the Democratic candidate for governor. And Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the Republican candidate for governor. We want you to send us your questions and comments by X – formerly Twitter – at k-y tonight k-e-t. Send an email to k-y tonight at k-e-t dot o-r-g. Or use the web form at k-e-t dot o-r-g slash k-y tonight. Or you can simply give us a call 1-800-494-7605. Well, welcome gentlemen, thank you for being here. You’ve done several of these engagements and we hope this one will also serve as a public service to Kentucky voters. So, let’s begin, we’re going to dispense with the opening remarks and get right to the questions. Gov. Beshear, there’s been a lot made about the lack of communication that you have with legislative leaders over your time as governor, the first term. In 2022 as you know, House Republicans filed their proposed budget, two, three days before you unveiled your budget recommendations before a joint house of the House and Senate, a join assembly of the House and Senate. How effectively can you govern in the next four years if you are reelected given those political tensions.

Andy Beshear: Well, I can govern as effectively as we have these last four years. Four years in which we’re coming off the best economic development win streak in our lifetime. I’ve now signed 627 bipartisan bills into law. I worked with the legislature to create a half-a-billion-dollar pool for clean drinking water. Dollars to expand internet access all across Kentucky. I got sports betting and medical marijuana passed, things that took Democratic and Republican votes that they said they would never pass while I was governor. You look at HHR and banning gray games, that was something I was for banning those games. My opponent was against it. Yet we won in the legislature and got that important step taken. Uh, we work well behind the scenes, it’s just in politics what happens out front is often not what you see behind closed doors. After the House became the first House, we think, in the country to ever try to leap frog a governor and submit a budget, we met with the Senate I believe five times for an hour a piece over our proposed budget and ended up getting about 80 percent of what we’d requested in that included more funding for public education. It included teachers raises, not big enough, but certainly a good step. Record infrastructure funding, but just look at the largest investment in the history of Kentucky: That Ford Motor Company investment of $5.8 billion, 5,000 new jobs. That took a special session, us working together, getting it done. So did creating the, the safe funds for eastern Kentucky and what we did for western Kentucky as well. Again, what you see in the forefront that, that makes the news is the dramatic, uh, but the hard work happens and we get the job done.

Renee Shaw: Well, some of those leaders have appeared on this program and said as much, and critics also claim that you’ve taken too much credit solo for the economic development wins in Kentucky in these last few years. That Republican legislative policies, they say, in fact, are the ones that have, uh, responsible for Kentucky’s economic growth spurt. Your response?

Andy Beshear: This shouldn’t be team red or team blue. We shouldn’t view the world through a lens that, you know, either, either it’s a win for this side or that side. Since I’ve become governor, we’ve brought in a record $27.5 billion in new investment, more than any governor, whether they served one term or two terms. There’s enough credit with $27.5 billion, 48,000 new jobs to go around. We set he lowest annual unemployment rate ever, the lowest monthly unemployment rate ever, the longest period of low unemployment that we’ve ever seen. You know, take the Ford deal or Envision in Bowling Green, uh, where between the two of them we’re building the number one and two largest battery plants on planet Earth, and I believe the number five one as well. That was us working together. That was Ford looking at me saying we believe you can get this thing built on time, and that was us needing to go to the General Assembly to have some new tools to, to get it done. In a election season, nobody’s ever going to say you work well together. But just look at the things we’ve done. We’ve capped the price of insulin, we, we got $200 million in General Fund towards the Brent Spence Bridge, which got us the largest infrastructure grant in U.S. history, and we’re now going to build that, uh, without tolls. We’re four-laning the entire Mountain Parkway. We’re building I-69 so fast that Indiana’s struggling to catch up. And it takes legislative appropriation to do all of that.

Renee Shaw: General Cameron, you’ve said, welcome, you’ve said frequently on the campaign trail that you’ve had three-and-a-half years as attorney general to cultivate those relationships with Republican lawmakers who are in the super-majority. As attorney general, you’ve seen your role and you have demonstrated that you will defend legislation that is passed by the Kentucky General Assembly. How do intend on asserting your own leadership, your own independence, and not merely serve as a rubber stamp to the actions on the third floor.

Daniel Cameron: Well, look, I think and believe you have to have a strong relationship with our legislature and this governor gave you a lot of stats and statistics, uh, but at the end of the day, he has no relationship with the legislature. And the governor talks a lot about an economy on fire, but the fact of the matter is this economy is on life support. There are 22,000 fewer Kentuckians working since this governor took office. Our median household income has dropped 12 percent, making the last three years the largest decline in median household income in this commonwealth’s history. The unemployment rate is higher than the national average. Again, this is not an economy, despite what the governor says, that’s one fire. He can say that a million times, but you at home know that that’s not the case. You’re having to deal with inflation that is ruining your purchasing power and it’s, uh, unbelievable, dare say crazy, that you have a governor who would endorse the policies and the president who have created this mess that we’re in, whether it’d be your inflation, whether it’d be median household income, those are all because of a president that this governor has endorsed. You need leadership that’s going to stand up for you. And again, back to the legislature, I offered an education plan, I offered a public safety plan. Before I announced those plans, I went to the legislature to get buy-in from them because I know to address the violent crime spike and increase that we’ve seen here in Kentucky, I need to work with the legislature to get my public safety plan done. I’ve talked to them, I’ve gotten buy in from them, we’re going to get that done.

Renee Shaw: There could be amendments, of course, that, uh, when it becomes in bill form. If perhaps you do have a clash of ideas and clash of policy proposals, are you willing to veto legislation that they’ve passed?

Daniel Cameron: Well, look, I’m willing to do whatever is necessary for the people here of the commonwealth. But I think most people would agree that it’s better to have everyone rowing in the same direction, as opposed to a governor who vetoes tax cuts, who vetoed legislation to protect women’s sports from biological males, who vetoed legislation to protect our kids from irreversible procedures, who shut down our state for nearly two years and did not consult with the legislature when he did that. Again, this is about making sure that we have leadership in this state that reflects your values. And Andy Beshear can say all he wants tonight that the economy is on fire, look, the Eagles had a song that said something to the extent of your lying eyes, you can’t hide your lying eyes. Andy Beshear is lying to you nightly on the television in these debates. The fact of the matter is, the economy is not doing well. You know it at home because you’re having to work two or three jobs. You know it at home because when you go to the grocery story, your bill is more. Your gas is more, your utility bills are more, securing child care, more expensive right now. Let’s have a governor that will say to you tonight that if I am the next governor here in this commonwealth, we will eliminate Kentucky’s income tax because I want to give you more of your hard-earned money back in your pocket —

Renee Shaw: Ok, so we’re going to get to all of that and we’re going to make our answers a little bit shorter. I gave you time to give your opening responses. Really quickly, before we go to you, Mr. Beshear, General Cameron, you’ve said that you, that Beshear will not speak out against the far-left wing of his party, and that you’ve frequently drawn connections between Beshear and President Biden. A question from a viewer tonight from Louisville: Uh, you’ve accepted and touted the endorsement of former President Donald Trump. Senator McConnell has stated that January 6, the mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. Do you agree with Mitch McConnell that the president was responsible for the attack on January 6th? Why or why not?

Daniel Cameron: Look, I’m proud to be endorsed by President Trump. In fact, President Trump is such a —

Renee Shaw: Do you believe that he was responsible for the January 6 insurrection?

Daniel Cameron: I’m proud to be endorsed by President Trump and President Trump is such a big deal in this race that Andy Beshear ran a campaign ad nearly two weeks ago trying to tout that there was some relationship between him and Donald Trump. The fact of the matter is that when it comes to Joe Biden and Donald Trump, I think most people at home right now agree that things were better in terms of the money in your pocket than what you have, you know, in D.C. they call it Bidenomics. The rest of us just call it record-high, 40-year inflation, and a war on coal.

Andy Beshear: Renee, what was the question again?

Renee Shaw: Well, Governor Beshear, I do want to go to the point that he made about there’s an ad that is connecting you to President Trump, and there’s a man who’s featured saying, “I voted for Trump because I felt he was putting the American people first. I’m going to support Andy Beshear, I do feel like he’s putting Kentucky first.” Are you trying to make some kind of connection to President Trump, is that what you desire?

Andy Beshear: First, let me just say what we’ve seen tonight is one candidate running for something and one something running against someone. Leadership is not calling people names, is not calling them liars. It’s about getting out there and getting things done. See, I’ know that a governor can’t be hyper-partisan like this candidate, who wouldn’t even answer that last question directly, asked twice. You can’t be team red or team blue, you have to be team Kentucky. You have to push on those things that matter to every family and should be nonpartisan like public education, public safety, infrastructure, uh, a good job.

Renee Shaw: Do you believe that President Biden is handling the economy well?

Andy Beshear: Well, I, my job as governor is to stand up for Kentuckians, whether that is for or against any president. There were times I agreed and disagreed with President Trump. There are times I agree and disagree with President Biden. I don’t make that decision based on my party. I, I base that decision on what is best for Kentuckians. We’re disagreeing with the president right now on some EPA rules and regulations that simply won’t work. When you’re building the two biggest battery plants on planet earth, the cleanest, greenest recycled paper mill in the world in Henderson, uh, that huge battery plant in Bowling Green, the companies going to recycle the lithium in our phones and in our batteries in Hopkinsville, you can’t take one means of production of power offline, and yes, we’re actively disagreeing with the president on that. But again, why am I running that ad? Because people should be able to vote for whoever they want. Not just stick to one team or another, but to actually look at the candidates and say who is going to make my life better. My opponent constantly tries to make you think that this race is somehow about who’s running for president, and that’s because if it’s about the two of us, he knows he can’t win. One of us has a record of accomplishment, and one of them just records attacks, time and time again.

Renee Shaw: So, let’s pivot to COVID. Uh, Mr. Cameron, nearly 19,000 Kentuckians have died of COVID.  You’ve been very critical of the governor’s response to closing schools and shuttering churches and stripping people of what people would call individual liberties. If you had been governor at that time, yes or no, would you have approached it differently? How would you have handled the pandemic?

Daniel Cameron: Well, I would’ve done what a lot of red-state governors did was try to get their states open as quickly as possible. But Andy Beshear, like Gavin Newsom, tried to shut this state down for nearly two years. And we’ve got extreme learning loss because of it, uh, we’ve got, uh, challenge as it relates to small businesses that had to close during that period of time. Some of them have not even reopened. And then we had a governor who infringed on folks’ constitutional rights. Look, I, I had to take him to court because he, he tried to shut down your First Amendment right to assemble if you were, uh, going to church.

Renee Shaw: Would you have shut down churches? Would you have shut down schools at any point during the pandemic, particularly during the outset?

Daniel Cameron: Look I wouldn’t infringed on your constitutional rights and when it comes to our schools, look, a lot of red-state governors were trying to find ways to reopen our schools. We were the only state in the nation that shut down the chiropractors, and I’ve heard from so many folks that tell me that the decisions that were made, the short-sighted decisions that were made by Andy Beshear during that period of time, are still having devastating consequences for our people.

Renee Shaw: General Cameron, perhaps you would have been out of sync with the position of former President Donald Trump, who wanted to relax guidelines around Easter but took the advice of health care experts who said to keep with the travel restrictions, with the lock downs, and other mitigation measures at least through the first wave of July of 2020 into the summer. Would you have gone that long?

Daniel Cameron: Well, look, there’s something called leadership and I would have offered leadership to the people here in Kentucky, and I would have made sure that we stood up for your constitutional rights. Again, not only did this governor shut down your churches and your schools and your small businesses, he also tried to tell you that you couldn’t leave the state without coming back and quarantining for 14 days. Again, that was unconstitutional. I took him into federal court and got that executive order struck down. Also, when Joe Biden tried to force vaccine mandates on our state, I went into federal court and got those vaccine mandates halted. You didn’t hear anything from Andy Beshear on that point because, again, he’s endorsed Joe Biden, he’s beholden to the far left of his party. And let me just say more broadly, uh,  the governor is certainly, uh, has license to sort of make claims up about this and that, but the fact, the fact of the matter is this, that I am talking about what’s happening in your house. I’m talking about the fact that median household income has dropped by 12 percent over the —

Renee Shaw: And we’re going to get to that a little bit later. I want to stick with COVID for just a moment. Governor Beshear, do you have any misgivings about the strength and the duration of the COVID restrictions, and particularly the flashpoint being on Easter Sunday when state troopers were checking license plates. Do you regret that decision, yes or no?

Andy Beshear: This is about leadership, and I showed people during the pandemic I was willing to make the hard decisions even if it cost me. I put politics out the window and I made the best decisions I could to save as many lives as possible. Yes, they were tough, but you have to do what’s hard when you are in a one-in-a-hundred-year pandemic —

Renee Shaw: And you’d do it all over again the same way?

Andy Beshear: You’ve heard my opponent, he couldn’t even answer the question about whether he would’ve made one or two decisions, and I had to make them every day. These are battlefield decisions where people are giving you approximations about how many Kentuckians die. I stood up and I did a press conference every day for a year and a half, and I read off every death during that period of time. It was real, and acting like it wasn’t, acting like we shouldn’t have taken those steps is a slap in the face of all those health care workers that marched into the COVID wings when they didn’t have enough PPE, knowing they could take it home to their families.

Renee Shaw: Did you go too far?

Andy Beshear: I believe we made the best decisions we could with the information we had. Look at schools, I was the first governor in the country to prioritize teachers for vaccines. Uh, this attorney general is saying he would’ve sent teachers into classrooms, poorly ventilated, old buildings, before they could get even the option to get a vaccine —

Renee Shaw: So let me ask you when it comes to schools —

Andy Beshear: — teachers with significant health conditions, potentially to their death.

Renee Shaw: When it comes to schools, let’s talk about learning loss. Many would say that that’s one thing you did ignore, that you did not have a strategy for dealing with the learning loss that students who had been held up during the pandemic at home and not in a traditional school setting or in hybrid situations, that you did not adequately address that. Do you believe that?

Andy Beshear: We do have a strategy for catching up on learning loss. This was something that was happening even before the pandemic and it’s primarily been driven by not having enough educators. If you want to catch a kid up on math, you have to have a math teacher in the room every day. If you want to catch a kid up on reading, you’ve got to have an English teacher in the room every day. Yet, we pay our teachers so poorly in this commonwealth that we have some of the largest teacher shortages that you see anywhere in the country. I’ve pushed for teacher raises. My education-first plan would provide an 11 percent across-the-board raise. Here’s what that would do: It would move us from 44th in starting teacher pay to the mid 20s. It would move us from 40th in average teacher pay to the mid-20s. This is a competition for talent, not just with surrounding states that are raising teacher pay, but also against other professions.

Renee Shaw: Did you propose in your last budget any type of provisions to have tutoring services or other additional support services for students who were behind.

Andy Beshear: Yeah, we pro, we proposed significant raises for our teachers to make sure there was a teacher in each classroom. We proposed extra learning resources in terms of, of textbooks and technology, and I even said at the time that we ought to be using those dollars to address, uh, any challenges that were coming out of the pandemic. We pushed for more mental health resources, knowing that that was a challenge even before the pandemic, but more so during it. Yes, you say the most robust request for education funding that you’d seen in a budget in at least a decade in my last one. And we got a lot of it, but we didn’t get enough of it. And in this budget, it’s time to step up and make sure every single classroom has a teacher for every day of the year.

Renee Shaw: General Cameron, your education plan.

Daniel Cameron: Well, I, I just have to go back. I mean you asked the governor if he had any regrets related to COVID, and, and he said no. Gavin Newsom, even as far left as Gavin Newsom is, said he had some regrets. But this governor, because of pride, won’t tell you that he has regrets, but our kids have suffered. Again, I’m talking about things that are happening at your house. Your kids are behind because of this short-sighted decision that Andy Beshear made —

Renee Shaw: And what would you do differently to catch the kids up?

Daniel Cameron: Well, as you said, I want to catch them up with the Cameron Catch-Up Plan, and this is a plan about making sure that we have a 16-week program for any parents that are watching right now, this is a 16-week program, after-school instruction and summer instruction. We’re going to pay our teachers to be a part of this. We’re also going to ask student-teachers to be a part of it. We want to catch our kids up on reading, science, and math, those indicators for success. We know, if you’re at home right now watching, that your kids are behind. Nearly 50 percent of our kids can’t read at grade level. Only about 29 percent can do science. Math about the same at grade level.  Again, we need to catch our kids up. But in addition to that, I stand here, sit here before you tonight as someone who whole-heartedly agrees and believes in our public education system. I grew up in the Hardin County school system. My wife, Makenze, uh, spent seven years teaching in Oldham County, fifth and third grade. My sister-in-law teaches in JCPS right now, so I want to make sure that we increase their salaries. But we also, here’s the other thing that I think is really important on this topic is I hear from a lot of teachers across Kentucky that say that they’ve left the classroom because of discipline issues. Part of my plan is to help restore discipline to the classroom so that if there’s any disruption to the classroom, a teacher is empowered —

Renee Shaw: But the legislature did that with House Bill 538 that was passed and signed into law.

Daniel Cameron: We need to do more on that front as well to restore discipline, to empower our teachers to remove any disruption that might —

Renee Shaw: And that’s what that law would have done.

Andy Beshear: Renee, Daniel Cameron’s approach to education includes vouchers.

Daniel Cameron: Let me say —

Andy Beshear: That would take tens if not hundreds —

Renee Shaw: Let the governor finish.

Andy Beshear: —  of millions of dollars away from public education and send it to fancy, private schools. Now he’ll try to tell you it’s not in his enumerated plan, but in July on the campaign trail he said this race is about vouchers. And you can just ask him directly —

Renee Shaw: Well, let’s just ask him directly.

Andy Beshear: — do you support vouchers?

Renee Shaw: Do you support vouchers, General Cameron?

Daniel Cameron: Look, look, I’m, I support, what I’ve always said is I support catching up our kids. I’m trying to, my plan —

Renee Shaw: Is one of those options school vouchers or scholarship tax credits?

Daniel Cameron: My plan is about making sure that we catch the kids up from the shutdown. We’ve seen Andy Beshear’s education plan and it’s a plan that shut down our schools for nearly two years. I support —

Renee Shaw: But you would for school vouchers?

Daniel Cameron: No, I would support primarily our public school system. Look, we need to make sure that we expand opportunity and choice —

Andy Beshear: That’s three times you’ve asked the question.

Daniel Cameron: — We need to make sure at the same time, look, more than 90 percent of our kids are in public schools. Look, parents at home, they want to make sure that their kids are caught up. This governor shut your schools down for nearly two years. We’ve got extreme learning loss —

Andy Beshear: We deserve a governor that will answer this question —

Renee Shaw: Governor Beshear.

Andy Beshear: — that will look in a camera and answer the question. I oppose vouchers, 100 percent. They steal money from our public schools and send them to our private schools. The reason he won’t answer is he supports vouchers. He has time and time again, but what’s concerning is he won’t be honest with you and answer a direct question and look in the camera. You deserve a governor that will do that, whether the answer is popular —

Renee Shaw: Why will you not answer the question —

Daniel Cameron: Look, I expand, uh, I, I agree that we need to expand opportunity and choice, but this program and policy that I’ve put forth is about our public school system —

Andy Beshear: Are you for vouchers?

Daniel Cameron: Wait a minute. You were for shutting our schools down for two years and kids —

Andy Beshear: Are you for vouchers?

Daniel Cameron: Did you shut our schools down for two years? Do we have learning loss because of those shut downs? Andy Beshear shut you down for two years. Your kids are behind on learning in reading, science, and math, those indicators for success. A parent at home watching right now wants to make sure that their kids are ready to go to college. Under this governor, we don’t have that.

Andy Beshear: And Renee, I just don’t understand why he won’t say it. He said it on the campaign trail. He’s said it in other debates. He’s looked at a camera, but he won’t be honest enough with your viewers to say a view that we all know he all has. It’s not hard to be honest, look in a camera, and say how you feel about vouchers.

Renee Shaw: So General Cameron, if you are sent a bill, if you are elected governor, that has scholarship tax credits or school vouchers, would you sign that measure into law.

Daniel Cameron: Look, I would sign that but I want to make sure that people know that my plan, the Cameron Catch-Up Plan is about our public schools. I cannot say that and stress that enough —

Renee Shaw: Ok.

Daniel Cameron: — I want to make sure that our teachers are in a position to build connections with our students. I want to make sure that the classroom is an environment conducive enough for those students to understand and be free from any disruptions. And I want to make sure at the end of the day we remove the bureaucracy that exists in the classroom as well.

Renee Shaw: So here’s a scenario —

Andy Beshear: While taking tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars out of public education and sending it to fancy, private schools. You can’t have a public-school plan if it includes vouchers. You can’t take the funding —

Daniel Cameron: Wait a minute, but, can it, Renee, Renee, again —

Andy Beshear: — to succeed. Just look in the camera and say that you are for or against vouchers —

Daniel Cameron: The governor needs to be enrolled in the Cameron Catch-Up Plan because clearly the public education plan that I’ve put forth said absolutely nothing about vouchers. The reason the governor continues to go down this line of questioning is because he knows that he is soft on this issue. Again, he has no regrets as it relates to COVID —

Andy Beshear: About public education —

Daniel Cameron: You have no regrets as it relates to COVID and shutting our schools down.

Andy Beshear: I chose a public school educator as my lieutenant governor. He chose someone who voted for Matt Bevin’s sewer bill that would’ve stolen the pensions of every public school employee and then, when I got it declared unconstitutional, said he wanted the governor to call a special session to try to steal them again. Oh, I’m comfortable —

Renee Shaw: Last word on this, General Cameron.

Daniel Cameron: Absolutely. Let me just say, the reason that our pensions are in the mess that they’re in is because the Beshear Administration and his father’s administration and Democrat leadership in Frankfort swiped the pensions for a number of years. They took money out of those pensions to pay for pet projects and that is the reason teachers’ pensions have been in the shape that they’re in. In fact, the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement Association just sent a letter to our state legislature, the Republican-run state legislature applauding them for making the payments to our pension system to make sure that they maintain solvency. The Republican legislature has been doing right by maintaining the solvency and making those obligated payments. I and I think it’s appropriate that we continue to do that, but also make sure that we move forward with a public education system that’s working best for our kids so that they can be the best —

Renee Shaw: Last word on this, yes, Governor Beshear.

Andy Beshear: Uh, I’m proud as governor that I have put in my budget not only fully funding our pensions but extra money for our pensions, our proposed budget. And what it’s resulted in is pensions being in the best place they’ve been in over a decade. But don’t take my word for it. We have had two bond-rating upgrades, something we hadn’t seen in 13 years, and what each of them said was based on this administration, working with the General Assembly, we have, uh, our house in some of the best financial shape it’s been. We’ve had the three biggest budget surpluses since I became governor. And they said that pensions of every teacher, police officer, firefighter, and social worker are as safe as they’ve been in a long time. This, after our last governor tried to illegally cut them, and this AG said he would’ve defended that law and fought to have cut those retirements.

Renee Shaw: So, this is a real-life scenario of a school educator, administrator, who shared this story, an experience at the beginning of the year, hopefully things have improved. This middle school principal is part of small, rural district 40 minutes from Lexington, where teacher salaries are significantly higher. A lot of the current staff work multiple jobs to pay rent and other living expenses. There were nine teacher vacancies and school was to start in one week, and there were no applicants. Administrators were left to look for stealing employees from other schools. How would you level the playing field across Kentucky to ensure students in every district have access to highly qualified and effective teachers and an equitable education? And how much education should those teachers have? Governor Beshear?

Andy Beshear: Well, the first thing I’d do is pay all our public school employees closer to what they’re worth. Uh, look at what happened when I secured the largest raise in history for the Kentucky State Police. We now have more troopers and more applications than we’ve seen. When we were able to raise salaries for social workers, more social workers in DCBS to try to better protect our kids. Our corrections officers, we finally got to a place where morale has turned down and we’re seeing those applications. Our educators deserve a big raise, that’s why my proposal is an 11 percent across-the-board raise not just for teachers, but for bus drivers, custodians, mental health counselors. It takes that whole village of a school. And last time, while I did get some record funding for K-12, they did not mandate in the budget that certain amounts go to raises. And what that meant is some districts did this much and some districts did that much. And we’ve got to have every single public school district having filled every single one of those vacancies. My plan would move us from 44th in starting teacher pay to the mid-20s. It’ll work.

Renee Shaw: General Cameron.

Daniel Cameron: Well, I would just say, Renee, there he goes again. This is TV Andy telling you what you want to hear, but the fact of the matter is that Frankfort Andy has proposed, if you’re a teacher watching tonight, you know that this governor when he was running in 2019, proposed a $2,000 raise. You didn’t get it. He proposed a 5 percent raise. You didn’t get it. Now he’s proposing an 11 percent raise, and you didn’t get it. And the reason that you haven’t gotten any of those is because this governor has no relationships with the legislature. I’ve already talked about my plan and wanting to increase the pay of our teachers. But in addition to that, I think it’s really important that we focus on this issue of discipline. Again, as I’ve talked to teachers, I, I talked to some administrators from Oldham County last week, they didn’t see necessarily the raise, and some teachers have, have left and, and gone to other school systems. We need to make sure that we improve the salaries that our teachers have, but also make sure the environment in which they are learning and teaching is conducive to those things.

Renee Shaw: What would you do differently that what’s already has been passed and is now in law?

Daniel Cameron: Well, I think one of the things that we need to make sure that we focus on is, as a state, we’ve already had a requirement that there be SROs, but in addition to that, we need to actually put money behind our SROs as a state to make sure that they are in our schools. There are some schools that have tried their best to comply with this, this new rule, but they need resources and I want to help in making sure, again, working with our legislature because I have those relationships to get that done. This governor does not, and I’m going to make sure that we do that.

Andy Beshear: Let me quickly correct a fact: Our last budget did end up providing raises. It ended up being up to the school system how much. On average it was 3 to 5 percent —

Daniel Cameron: But the governor knows that there are so many teachers that did not get raises under his plan.

Andy Beshear: — so under this plan, we do a lot more. But to say educators didn’t get raises in the last budget is just flat out --

Renee Shaw: Well, not directly, right?

Daniel Cameron: But there’s so many teachers that I’ve talked to that have said they did not get a raise. I know this first hand.

Andy Beshear: You can see the statistics. They did it, uh, 3 percent on average across the commonwealth. Not nearly enough —

Daniel Cameron: I know some teachers left the school systems —

Andy Beshear: But, again, a mandatory 11 percent raise will get the job done.

Renee Shaw: Uh, this question to you, Mr. Cameron. No state that has tried tutoring programs to deal with the pandemic has been able to hire enough tutors to run successful programs. Why do you think Kentucky will be different?

Daniel Cameron: Well, look, we are using as a model a successful program that is occurring right now in Tennessee. There’s another program that is occurring right now in Utah, and so we believe, based on those plans that currently exist, we can get the teachers and then also student-teachers involved to make sure that we have the necessary instructors for this plan. The Cameron Catch-Up Plan is a plan about our future, it’s about our kids and our grandkids, making sure that they’re in the best position to fuel the workforce for the future. Again, we’ve talked about this, but the governor shut down our school. He can talk about all he wants —

Renee Shaw: Ok.

Daniel Cameron: — education —

Renee Shaw: Let’s talk about the aging school facilities. This is another concern of school administrators. Kentucky has a large number of aging school facilities. What is your plan for providing safe, secure, equitable facilities for every Kentucky student regardless of their zip code, code? Mr. Cameron?

Daniel Cameron: Well look, we, obviously our legislature’s made some movements to, to improve facilities and I want to continue that work alongside the legislature. I think it’s incredibly important that we have good facilities for our kids to learn in. I know JCPS has built some new facilities here recently, but we need to continue that work all across our commonwealth. In fact, in Johnson County, they’re, they’re working to build a new facility there but need some additional help from the legislature and from the executive branch, and I’ll certainly be willing to partner with them to make sure that they get the resources they need to continue and finalize their building project.

Renee Shaw: Governor Beshear, your response, quickly.

Andy Beshear: Well, I’m proud to be the governor that’s provided over $240 million to renovate our career and technical programs inside our public schools. It was a huge infusion that was celebrated all over the state, again, a bipartisan plan worked on through the General Assembly. Johnson County is getting $10 million through that program. We’ve got to work on having more bond capacity for our schools and to be able to address some of the challenges when they can’t bring all of the financing up front. You, you look at where I went to high school in Lexington, Henry Clay, now being one of the oldest schools that’s there, but seeing the challenge that, that these local communities have and the costs of the new building means the state needs to be able to step up. But let me say, when you’re looking at doing things equitably, you’ve got to make sure you’re looking at more than just the school buildings. You’ve got to look at where jobs are. I was proud to announce the biggest jobs announcement in the west end of Louisville in, we think, at least 20 years, 350 new jobs, paying almost $30 an hour. I’m proud to be the governor that’s helping to build the first hospital in the west end of Louisville in 150 years. I’m proud to be the governor that’s working with Pikeville Medical Center on two pediatric autism centers in eastern Kentucky. When we look at the education of our kids, the building’s important, our teachers are important, but having a stable family with a good job and health care where you don’t have to drive two hours or take two busses is critical to the well-being of that child.

Renee Shaw: To that point, Norma Hatfield, president of Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky, has this question: Kentucky has one of the highest rates of children being raised by grandparents. Child abuse and neglect is still in the top ten of states across the U.S., I think we’re number six. Do you have a plan to provide more resources for prevention of abuse and neglect, for more financial supports for kinship caregivers. General, or, uh, Governor Beshear.

Andy Beshear: Kinship care is amazing. What it means is that a child that otherwise might not have anybody looking out for them. In Kentucky, most the time, that’s a grandparent, and, yes, I had to make some tough decision during COVID because I knew so many of those children were going home to a grandparent, older, more at risk, and, and the idea that they could bring something home and lose the only person in the world that cares about them weighed on me day in and day and was part of the decision-making. We’re working to free up more dollars for kinship care. There is a foster care program that works with kinship, but you’ve got to go through too many hoops to get there and it’s too challenging. We know that our children our best when they have someone that truly loves them and supports them, and that means especially when those are older Kentuckians, we need to do everything we can to make sure their needs are met. That’s why our FRYSCs (Family Resource Youth Services Centers) in our schools are so critical. When a child comes to school without a coat, they’re the group that gets it to them. It’s why our senior meals and our meals through school are so important because we could see more challenges with hunger in that group. That’s why we’ve got to make sure that we have all of the wrap-around services in each and every one of our communities so that each uh, uh, grandparent or anybody else in kinship care, thank you. Thank you for caring about that child and we’re going to work with you to give them the biggest, brightest future possible.

Renee Shaw: Mr. Cameron.

Daniel Cameron: Well, I, too, want to just say how much I’m grateful for, uh, our grandparents and other kin that are helping, step in to help our children. I’ve seen this first hand with the drug and opioid epidemic, uh, that has ravaged so many communities. And we’ve had a lot of kin step up to the plate to, to help with kids whose parents might be struggling with addiction. Uh, but on, on this topic, I want to make sure that you, we have the resources available, uh, so that kinship care is expanded and that we’re not breaking up those family units. Uh, you know, one of the challenges that we’ve seen with the foster care system here as of late under this governor is that too many kids are sleeping on floors in dilapidated buildings. That has to end, and part of the solution to that is expanding kinship care. I’m going to work with our legislature to make sure that we find those additional resources and dollars to expand that care and give you the resources you need to take care of our children.

Renee Shaw: I want to shift real quickly to talk about state juvenile detention centers. A couple weeks ago, there were some more allegations concerning the state’s youth detention centers that were revealed during a legislative committee hearing. Officials with the Department of Public Advocacy said some juvenile offenders were being kept in isolation for up to 21 days at a time, and DPA officials said that can increase their risk of suicide, depression, and psychosis. They also testified that isolation was being used as a form of punishment, which is against DJJ rules. Uh, even the secretary, Kerry Harvey, said in response to this, that if it’s what you have to do to try and preserve safety, what else can you do. And he provided some detail on prolonged isolation that was needed when it was acceptable. Governor Beshear, does this concern you that practices like this are happening to youth offenders? And is that the right approach, and did you know of it?

Andy Beshear: Well, sure it concerns me because I run towards problems and not away from them. I inherited a, a DJJ system, uh, that was broken. In fact, they lost a young lady under the last governor in an E-town facility that’s now been closed. When I came in, we were paying our DJJ officers under $30,000 a year to do dangerous work. We were critically understaffed and we’ve now gotten those salaries up to about $50,000 and are getting, thankfully, more people. When I came in, we had boys and girls in the same facilities. Our corrections systems would never do that, it puts people at too much risk. And when I came in, we had facilities where someone awaiting trail for murder was next to someone in for truancy – that’s skipping school. And what happened in so many of those occasions is someone awaiting trial for a very serious crime that doesn’t see a future, would be violent, would be disruptive, and to preserve everybody’s safety, they would have to have different things like lockdowns. And what that would mean is that child that’s there just for a short period of time, that we need to get all the services we can, that interventions should work, that we want to get back on the right track, was not getting those services, again, because of how the system was set up. So, I took action. We separated girls from boys. Uh, we now have different facilities based on the level of crimes someone’s accused of —

Renee Shaw: Is isolation appropriate?

Andy Beshear: — and what that means, just if I can, is that on the lower-level facilities, we’re having almost no disruption at all and we’re getting all of those services. I don’t like isolation as a tool, but if you have someone that has attacked repeatedly a number of officers, put them at risk, I mean, I know DJJ officers that have in the hospital with injuries so seriously they can’t even come back. Now when we think about these kids, and some of them are small, some of them are huge, they are men but still, uh, juveniles, we’ve got to make sure we have a safe environment first, and then we need to provide all the services that we can.

Renee Shaw: Mr. Cameron, your view on this?

Daniel Cameron: Well, look, uh, whether it’s our juvenile facilities, which we’ve seen under this governor too many instances of sexual assault and other, uh, bad instances, whether it’s at the Adair County facility or the Campbell County facility, uh, these challenges abound. And what the governor didn’t say to you is that he’s held anybody accountable. The folks that have been in those offices in DJJ are still in those offices. He hasn’t fired a person. And when I’m the next governor, we’re going to clean house because you as citizens, you as parents, you as folks concerned about our youth need to know that folks will be held accountable if this sort of conduct occurs, and that’s my commitment to you tonight. And, look, at the end of the day, whether it’s this or the unemployment office, or the Team Kentucky fund that’s now under audit, this governor has failed in the administration of government.

Andy Beshear: Renee, this is what —

Renee Shaw: Have you held anyone accountable in DJJ?

Andy Beshear: Oh, we have. We’ve held the juveniles accountable when they’ve attacked someone. We’ve held the DJJ officers when they have done wrong, they’ve been held accountable. We have fired different wardens from these facilities. But this is what happens when you see the world through a partisan lens. He only sees red or blue. He can’t put any blame on the last administration where we saw these challenges. You, you talked about unemployment, but he won’t tell that Matt Bevin fired 90 people or transferred them out of that system and closed all, all of our rural offices, which made that such a challenge. You can’t lead Team Kentucky if everything good in the world is because of the General Assembly and everything bad is because of the governor. Listen, you’ve got to be able to govern for every family and take that partisan hat off the moment you’re elected and do your best for everyone.

Renee Shaw: So, let’s talk about unemployment insurance. There were too many Kentuckians who were waiting too long for their unemployment insurance benefits. Uh, does the administration take full responsibility for those failures of the UI system and have you been working with the Kentucky General Assembly to get money to modernize the system and fix the flaws.

Andy Beshear: You know, if I’d had a, a crystal ball in the pandemic, definitely one thing I would have done was at the beginning of the session, right, that started in January and the pandemic hit in March, I would’ve pushed every single day to repair the cuts that Matt Bevin and the General Assembly had made, cutting 90 individuals, 90 trained individuals that could’ve been processing claims. I would’ve worked to have reopen the rural offices that Matt Bevin and that General Assembly had closed. If we’d have known what was coming and we’d had the resources that were there during the last administration, we could’ve done much better. The other problem is I inherited a IT system that’s older than I am, and suddenly it saw the most claims it’s ever seen and the most sophisticated cyber-attacks from other countries. Listen, he tries to turn us against each other, tries to get us riled up and angry at each other. We have real enemies, they’re outside of this country and they attacked us time after time, trying to send millions upon millions of fake claims to make it harder to help our people. Every day we strove to do better. Uh, but, yes, I was the governor. I’m the captain of the ship, I’m not going to run away from problems. So, we are now, uh, updating that IT system. We have vendors doing final presentations right now to get a state-of-the-art, new IT system that is desperately needed. In the meantime, we’ve come in and we’ve added security that stops these cyber-attacks that makes people prove who they are and it’s not a false claim, up front instead of at the end. We’ve been working every single day to make sure if this ever happens again, nobody has to stand in those long lines.

Renee Shaw: So, I do want to get to a few questions that have come in from, from viewers. This first one from John Douglas, Henderson County Schools, we’re going to pivot back to education. Says, “We talk about teachers, what about your maintenance workers, your bus drivers, custodians, your cafeteria employees, your custodians rather, we seem to be forgotten. Schools can’t operate without these people. We need pay increases also.” Mr. Cameron, what do you say to Mr. Douglas.

Daniel Cameron: Well, I agree with Mr. Douglass, uh, and I certainly want to make sure that when it comes to building those relationships with our legislature that will be a priority as well. Again, our public education system needs help, and we need a governor that’s going run towards this issue, and not only run towards it but also bring the legislature alongside me to make sure that we’re expanding the opportunities that our kids have, to make sure we have a world-class education system, one that is about reading, writing, and math. And I want to focus on that, I want to build the best and brightest version of our students that we possibly can. That means making sure our staff, our administration has the resources that it needs to do the job.

Renee Shaw: If you would like to answer.

Andy Beshear: I want your viewer to know that I hear him, I see him, and I know how important he and everyone else is in the education of every child. Look at our bus drivers, we have huge shortages across school districts, and we’ve had some districts that have had challenges getting kids to and from school safely. But we have a legislature that shorted just one district $18 million in transportation fees that they are supposed to, under law, provide. My opponent’s plan doesn’t have a raise for you in the plan. Read it. Mine has an 11 percent across-the-board raise because you are just as important as every other educator. We need each and every one of you. You’re invaluable. Hang on, help is on the way, we care about you.

Renee Shaw: Mr. Cameron, does your plan omit that?

Daniel Cameron: Well, let me, let me just say here, uh, the governor talks about unifying this commonwealth, but the fact of the matter is in the last two questions, he’s thrown the previous governor under the bus. He also just threw the Republican legislature under the bus, even though he claims that he wants to work with them. Again, Mr. Douglas, if you’re watching at home, know that I’m going to fight for you, I’m going to make sure that you have the resources that you need and I’m going to work with our legislature because to get these big things done on education, on getting violent crime under control, on protecting the family unit, you need to work with the legislature, not throw them under the bus, just like you saw Andy Beshear do —

Andy Beshear: Renee, that’s yet another question that this candidate refuses to look in the camera and answer. The question was, is it in your written plan? And he won’t answer because it’s no, it’s not in there —

Daniel Cameron: Well let me say that , can I say this, Renee? Andy Beshear has had multiple plans, again —

Andy Beshear: Is it in your plan?

Daniel Cameron: — he’s promised you $2,000 if you’re a teacher, then 5 percent —

Andy Beshear: Yes or no?

Daniel Cameron: — then 11 percent. He’s had these plans and none of those raises have occurred —

Renee Shaw: So this is a good yes or no, a hard pivot to abortion. Mr. Cameron, do you personally favor allowing legal abortions in Kentucky in cases of rape or incest, yes or no?

Daniel Cameron: Look, if the legislature brings me those exceptions, I will sign it. But let me just say this, Renee: Uh, I’m Planned Parenthood’s worst nightmare —

Andy Beshear: That’s another question with no answer.

Daniel Cameron: — Planned Parenthood is funding, uh, Andy Beshear’s campaign, the second largest contributor. I will not bow to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood was founded by a lady named Margaret Sanger who absolutely wanted to destroy the Black community. I am the worst nightmare for Planned Parenthood —

Renee Shaw: So, General Cameron —

Daniel Cameron: I’m the pro-life candidate. Andy is the pro-abortion candidate. He wants more abortions and wants you the taxpayer to pay for it. Again, Planned Parenthood is running so hard against me because I am their worst nightmare. I am the type of person that Margaret Sanger, the person who founded Planned Parenthood, said didn’t deserve to live. We have to end this culture that Andy Beshear has created here. We need to establish a culture of life. I’m going to be a governor that promotes life and makes sure that there are life-affirming options. We want to make sure that the foster care system is —

Renee Shaw: Ok, before we, before we get, we want to do more of that in just a moment, but I do, would like a direct answer to the question. So, you say that if you’re sent a bill or if the court were to order it, but from a personal conviction, do you believe that in cases of rape or incest, abortion should be a legal option for women in Kentucky, yes or no, sir?

Daniel Cameron: Look, if the legislature brings me that bill, I will sign those exceptions. I don’t see —

Renee Shaw: But you would not push or advocate for it?

Daniel Cameron: Look, I think that the legislature, if they work on this, I will sign those exceptions. But at the end of the day, I’m the pro-life candidate. Andy Beshear is the pro-abortion candidate —

Renee Shaw: Ok, thank you, Mr. Cameron.

Andy Beshear: Over three debates, my opponent has been asked this nine times, and he has refused to look into the camera and answer it once. You deserve a governor who will level with you. So here, let me show him how to do it: I believe that victims of rape and incest deserve options, that there has to be an exception. Some of these girls are as young as nine years old, and my opponent would make them carry their rapist’s baby. Listen, a rapist should never have more rights than his victim. And Daniel Cameron won’t answer the question because he’s already shown you what the answer is. He supported the bill with no exceptions. He celebrated it when it came into law. He’s defending it in court right now and his lawyers are saying that little 9-year-old, raped and impregnated by a family member is not irreparably harmed by having to carry her rapist’s baby. That is wrong, our people deserve better, and you deserve a governor that can look in a camera and answer the question.

Renee Shaw: General Cameron, this question to you. You were one of 19 Republicans who signed on to a letter opposing proposed federal privacy rules blocking state officials from getting medical records of women who seek abortions out of state. By signing that letter, are you wanting to criminalize women for seeking abortions, or punishing the abortion providers? What’s the end goal? Why sign the letter, what did you want to accomplish by doing so?

Daniel Cameron: Well, look, actually I, I’ve already been on the record. In fact, there was a bill that was offered earlier this year that tried to criminalize a woman who might be considering an abortion and I came out strongly against that bill. But, again, let me just go back to the very point of how this conversation originated: Planned Parenthood is running hard against me. They’ve given, they’re the second largest donor to Andy Beshear. Andy Beshear is trying to gaslight you tonight. Again, here is a governor, that when he was in my position, refused to defend a 20-week ban on abortion. He vetoed a 15-week ban on abortion, and then has told the taxpayers that he wants you to pay for the abortions, and on top of that refused to sign a law that would protect a baby after a failed abortion. He wants no limits on abortions, and he’s backed by Planned Parenthood. Again, the reason Planned Parenthood is running so hard is because they were founded by a lady that believed in eugenics —

Renee Shaw: Ok.

Daniel Cameron: — and wanted to destroy the Black community —

Renee Shaw: Thank you, General Cameron —

Andy Beshear: Renee, I —

Renee Shaw: Mr. Beshear, I do want to ask you —

Andy Beshear: Sure.

Renee Shaw: — Where to do you stand when it comes to late-term abortions? Do you believe that a woman should be able to terminate a pregnancy at any point in her pregnancy into the ninth month.

Andy Beshear: Uh, Renee, I have been clear since I started running for attorney general that I am in favor of reasonable restrictions on abortion, especially late-term abortions. But, again, this attorney general won’t answer the question. Uh, he signed a letter saying that he should be able to come after your medical records if you go out of state for care. Your medical records are private. They’re yours, but this attorney general wants to bully you and intimidate you. And when he signs a letter saying he wants to come after your medical records, believe him.

Renee Shaw: Governor, let me ask you a question about a proposal, it’s a bill request, it’s bill request number eight by Senate Judiciary Chairman Whitney Westerfield. And he had filed this and talked about it with his Senate caucus in 2022 after the Dobbs decision, and it’s about giving women some options to make abortion less attractive. And this would call for Medicaid support for lactation services and breast-feeding services, that there would even be a tuition waiver program for pregnant women who were in higher education at public universities and colleges, and even give money to the Kentucky Housing Corporation so that pregnant women and children under five could have a place to stay. Do any of those things sound good to you, and would you put those in a budget proposal to submit to the Kentucky General Assembly.

Andy Beshear: I mean what all those things are aren’t about having options. They’re about supporting pregnant women, which, yes, I, I’ve even expanded Medicaid and the coverage for women who are expecting and after they have had a child, but absolutely, any support that we can give to a young mom in Kentucky. Look at what Scholar House does in Louisville and around the state, providing housing for primarily single mothers and single fathers, uh, helping them with their kids at the same time getting an education, getting that first house. Oh, I mean, those are amazing programs. And, yes, if Senator Westerfield or others want to work with us about how we provide more support for all expecting mothers in Kentucky, that’s absolutely something —

Renee Shaw: General Cameron, are you on board with that idea as well?

Daniel Cameron: Look, I support some of these life-affirming options that Senator Westerfield and others have proposed. I think if you want to establish a culture of life, you need to make sure that, that mothers have an opportunity to do that. I also know that there are baby boxes that exist all across Kentucky that give an expectant mother an opportunity to, to, to give over her baby in the event that, uh, she’s not wanting or in a position to be able to, to keep that child. I think any of these life-affirming options are really critical, and I will support them, uh, and I look forward to working alongside Senator Westerfield and others in our legislature to provide those life-affirming options.

Renee Shaw: Uh, there’s a few questions that are coming in and we’re going to have, like, four minutes remaining, so let’s get to as many as possible. Off topic, but a good question, to you both: Would you run for the Senate if a vacancy opens during your term as governor. Governor Beshear?

Andy Beshear: No. Listen, I, I love serving as your governor. I get to wake up each and every day to do my very best for you, and my pledge is to serve a full four years —

Renee Shaw: Ok, General Cameron? Yes?

Andy Beshear: — where they are, and, and that’s where I start my decisions. If Will and Lila are happy, we want to keep that going.

Renee Shaw: Same question to you, Mr. Cameron.

Daniel Cameron: The answer is no. Look, Makenze and I have a, a 21-month-old at home, Theodore. We want to make sure that this commonwealth, uh, is a shining city on the hill, a model and an example for the rest of the nation to follow. We want this commonwealth to be one that he stays in, he grows up in, perhaps, uh, gets married in and has his own kids. Uh, that’s what I want this commonwealth to be, one in which we respect our citizens’ constitutional rights. Going from attorney general to governor is really going from defense to offense. It’s making sure that you have a governor who respects your constitutional rights, making sure you have a governor that will protect women’s sports from biological males, making sure you have a governor who will fight to protect our kids from these transgender surgeries and other issues that, that might, uh, hurt the innocence of youth.

Renee Shaw: So let me ask that question to Governor Andy Beshear: Did you know that UK Healthcare was providing non-genital surgical surgeries to minors when you had the had said that those surgeries are not being performed in Kentucky. Did you know that those surgeries had been performed? They’re no longer, but that they had been.

Andy Beshear: I’m a governor that will look at you and answer the question: No, I didn’t know. Uh, I oppose gender reassignment surgeries for minors, but the bill championed by my opponent does so much more than that. It turns our educators into the gender police, it tears away the freedoms of parents to make complicated medical decisions for their kids. I’m always going to side with parents, I am one, and big government should never come in and try to make those medical decisions for you.

Renee Shaw: I want to ask this question, uh, in the time —

Daniel Cameron: Renee, if I may —

Renee Shaw: Quickly, please.

Daniel Cameron: The governor just told you a lie. I mean he told that was against gender-transition surgeries, but he vetoed the legislation to protect our kids from that. This governor, this governor will tell you anything on television, but when he goes to Frankfort, he vetoes legislation, and then he on top of it, lets 2,000 criminals out of jail to prey on our communities and increase our violent crime.

Andy Beshear: Renee, that bill had a lot of pieces to it and this attorney general knows it —

Daniel Cameron: Well, the governor can read —

Andy Beshear: I’ve always opposed gender-assignment surgeries for minors —

Daniel Cameron: — He didn’t because vetoed that, he could’ve signed that legislation, and he vetoed it —

Andy Beshear: — The other pieces in that, uh, turned our educators into the gender police, and tear away the freedom of parents to make medical decisions. He wouldn’t have talked over me if he didn’t know that I was right, that there were multiple pieces and that our parents should be able to make complicated medical decisions instead of big government.

Renee Shaw: And a school district has even gone so far as to pull some books from shelves, 106 books, and one of them is a graphic novel about Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank. Do you think that in that regard SB 150 has gone too far in terms of book banning?

Andy Beshear: Well, I haven’t seen the details of, of what happened in that community. I generally trust our librarians and our school systems to do what’s right. They all had systems like this in place before, but it’s also important that we don’t go so far that we pick on a group of individuals that are already so marginalized. I believe that all children are children of God, all of them. And then when we pass legislation that we know from the science will increase suicides of our youth, I think we should always be in the suicide prevention and not in the suicide-causing business. Again, this was all passed for political points, Renee. The fact that they would put those kids in that situation just for votes in an election is wrong and shows a lack of leadership.

Renee Shaw: We’ll have to leave it there. I’m sorry for the lack of time. We could spend another hour, at least a half-hour for sure, but we do appreciate the time that you’ve given our viewers and Kentucky voters this evening. We hope you’ll join us next Monday because we’ll have the candidates for lieutenant governor, Democrat Jacqueline Coleman and Republican Robby Mills. And be sure to join us tomorrow night, 6:30 Eastern, 5:30 Central for Kentucky Edition. And then Bill Bryant will be here with working journalists to discuss the news of the week on Comment, Friday at 8 Eastern, 7 Central. Take good care and I’ll see you really soon.

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Season 30 Episodes

Early Childhood Education

S30 E41 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 02/26/24

Abortion Legislation

S30 E40 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 02/19/24

School Choice and Education Issues

S30 E39 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 02/12/24

State Budget Discussion

S30 E38 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 02/05/24

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in Higher Education

S30 E37 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 01/29/24

Safer Kentucky Act

S30 E36 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 01/22/24

Legislative Priorities in the 2024 General Assembly

S30 E35 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 01/08/24

Governor Andy Beshear's Budget Address

S30 E34 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 12/18/23

2024 Legislative Preview: Part Two

S30 E33 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 12/04/23

2024 Legislative Preview

S30 E32 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 11/20/23

Analysts Discuss What to Expect on Election Day 2023

S30 E31 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11/06/23

Candidate Conversations: Lieutenant Governor

S30 E30 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10/30/23

Candidate Conversations: Governor

S30 E29 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10/23/23

Political Analysts Forecast the 2023 General Election

S30 E28 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10/17/23

Secretary of State; Commissioner of Agriculture

S30 E27 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10/09/23

Auditor of Public Accounts; State Treasurer

S30 E26 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10/02/23

Kentucky's Economy, Jobs and Taxes

S30 E25 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 09/25/23

Higher Education in Kentucky

S30 E24 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 09/18/23

Kentucky's Health Care Challenges

S30 E23 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 09/11/23

Education Issues in Kentucky

S30 E22 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 08/21/23

Fancy Farm Preview and Kentucky Politics

S30 E21 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 07/31/23

Kentucky's Energy Needs

S30 E20 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 07/17/23

Artificial Intelligence

S30 E19 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 07/10/23

Jobs, Inflation and the Economy

S30 E18 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 06/26/23

SB 150 and LGBTQ Issues

S30 E17 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/19/23

Horse Racing Safety

S30 E16 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 06/12/23

A Discussion of Gun Laws

S30 E15 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 06/05/23

Recapping The 2023 Kentucky Primary

S30 E14 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 05/22/23

2023 Primary Election Preview

S30 E13 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 05/15/23

Republican Candidate for Secretary of State

S30 E12 Length 15:00 Premiere Date 05/08/23

Republican Candidates for Governor

S30 E11 Length 1:29:20 Premiere Date 05/01/23

Candidates for Treasurer and Commissioner of Agriculture

S30 E10 Length 1:15:06 Premiere Date 04/24/23

Challenges Facing Kentucky Schools

S30 E9 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 04/17/23

Policy Analysts Recap the 2023 General Assembly

S30 E8 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 04/10/23

Recap of the 2023 Kentucky General Assembly

S30 E7 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 04/03/23

Kentucky Legislation on LGBTQ+ Youth

S30 E6 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 03/20/23

Student Discipline Legislation

S30 E5 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 03/13/23

Gambling Proposals in the Kentucky General Assembly

S30 E4 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 02/27/23

Kentucky's Teacher Shortage

S30 E3 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 02/20/23

Exploring Local Government Issues

S30 E2 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 02/13/23

Child Abuse and Neglect in Kentucky

S30 E1 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 02/06/23

See All Episodes

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Early Childhood Education - S30 E42

Renee Shaw and guests discuss early childhood education. Scheduled guests: State Senator Danny Carroll (R-Benton), chair of the Senate Families and Children Committee and sponsor of the Horizons Act, SB 203, that addresses the child-care industry needs in Kentucky; State Senator Cassie Chambers Armstrong (D-Louisville), member of the Senate Families and Children Committee; Sarah Vanover, Ed.D., author of America's Child-Care Crisis: Rethinking an Essential Business, and policy and research director for Kentucky Youth Advocates; Kate Shanks, vice president of public affairs at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; Brigitte Blom, president & CEO of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence; and Andrew McNeill, president of Kentucky Forum for Rights, Economics & Education (KYFREE). A 2024 KET production.

  • Tuesday February 27, 2024 11:00 pm ET on KETKY
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Kentucky Tonight - S30 E43

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Kentucky Tonight - S30 E44

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Early Childhood Education - S30 E42

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Abortion Legislation - S30 E41

  • Wednesday February 21, 2024 6:00 pm ET on KETKY
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School Choice & Education Issues - S30 E40

  • Wednesday February 14, 2024 6:00 pm ET on KETKY
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The State Budget - S30 E39

  • Wednesday February 7, 2024 6:00 pm ET on KETKY
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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at Kentucky Colleges & Universities - S30 E38

  • Wednesday January 31, 2024 6:00 pm ET on KETKY
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