By Republican Party of Kentucky Chairman Mac Brown
In a recent column, Democrat Gov. Andy Beshear sugarcoats his response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Kentucky and attempts to take credit for everything from the state’s finances to vaccine distribution and more, while ignoring his own failures. Gov. Beshear even tried to claim recognition for reopening schools and businesses – even as our students and economy continue to struggle under his executive overreach and unilateral dictates. While puffing himself up for political purposes, it is no surprise the governor ignores his many missteps – especially the massive unemployment insurance scandal that his Administration created.
Let us set the record straight. Since Republicans gained control of both houses of the Kentucky General Assembly in 2016, under the leadership of Speaker David Osborne and President Robert Stivers, GOP lawmakers have pursued transforming Kentucky into a vision of prosperity. They’ve enacted fiscally responsible budgets every year that invest in key priorities like education and fully funding teachers’ pensions after years of neglect by Democrats – all while saving for a rainy day.
Once again this year, the Republican-led legislature passed – over Gov. Beshear’s politically motivated vetoes – a responsible spending plan that includes more than $5 billion for education (keeping per-pupil classroom funding at an all-time high under Republican leadership) and making a historic investment in our state’s rainy day fund of $958 million. It is disingenuous for the Governor to take credit for these accomplishments. Not only did he veto key portions of the Republican legislature’s budget; the Governor’s own proposals were nothing more than a laundry list of big-government spending increases, calling for taxpayer dollars to be wasted away in the face of the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When Fitch Ratings, one of the country’s biggest credit-rating agencies, recently bolstered their rating of Kentucky’s fiscal outlook, Gov. Beshear tried to take credit for that, too. Yet again, he is trying to pull the wool over Kentucky’s eyes. Thanks to the Republican-led legislature’s commitment to a fiscally disciplined and responsible approach to budgeting and allocating federal relief dollars, the budgets enacted allow Kentucky to better navigate current uncertainty on a more solid financial footing.
Meanwhile, Gov. Beshear used the vaccine as a political football, prioritizing doses for union members and his special-interest allies while leaving childcare workers and others to wait, against recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When the governor takes credit for COVID-19 vaccinations, he fails to mention that it was under a Republican administration – President Donald Trump and Operation Warp Speed – and supported by Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans – that developed the fastest vaccine in modern history.
The facts are that when it comes to managing Kentucky’s response to and recovery from the pandemic, Gov. Beshear leaves us lagging behind other states time and time again. Last spring, he left us behind the curve with respect to planning for a safe reopening – and even more than a year into the pandemic continues to drag his feet while neighboring states move forward.
Whether it is Kentucky’s finances, vaccine distribution, or safely reopening our schools and businesses, Beshear is misleading his constituents. And in his latest column, Gov. Beshear also completely ignored one of the most glaring and embarrassing failures of any administration we’ve seen – his massive backlog of unemployment insurance claims and the multitude of scandals surrounding its mismanagement.
Under Gov. Beshear’s lack of leadership, failures continue to plague the unemployment insurance office more than a year after he ordered more than one million Kentuckians out of work. Since then, the governor let a massive backlog of unemployment insurance claims pile up while ignoring hundreds of thousands of cries for help, breaking federal rules, and even letting the politically connected skip the line for benefits.
The truth is that Gov. Andy Beshear’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing short of disastrous for countless hardworking Kentucky families and businesses. Instead of leading, Governor Andy Beshear just copies homework from Republicans and turns it in with his name on it.