By Colman Elridge
Kentucky Democratic Party Chair
You know, there’s an easy way to know whether someone cares more about people or political power: When there’s good news, do they celebrate our collective victories, or do they go on the attack?
Recently, my counterpart at the Republican Party of Kentucky, Mac Brown, authored a pathetically desperate attack on Gov. Andy Beshear. I suppose it’s no surprise, but it is disappointing and sad for the people of Kentucky who deserve better.
Sadly, while ignoring the failures and growing dangerous threat of his own party, Chairman Brown made it perfectly clear that they will not be part of the solution going forward. The Republicans, consumed with bitterness over a lost election in 2019, spent most of the last year engaging in petty partisan attacks rather than truly helping the people of Kentucky when they had the opportunity.
Republicans opposed $240 million in direct relief to small businesses and nonprofits hurt by the pandemic, solely so they could continue to push a talking point rather than help.
Republicans opposed raises for teachers while screaming about “reopening schools” that never closed. Since the pandemic hit in March 2020, our schools have been open and our teachers have been teaching. When it comes to in-person learning, only Gov. Beshear took the actions needed to do so safely, pushing vaccinations for teachers to limit the spread of the virus in our classrooms and giving guidance to school districts to help keep positivity rates low.
When it comes to unemployment, let’s be clear that it was Republicans who broke the system. Their repeated cuts to the unemployment office left it understaffed and unfunded. Then, when the federal government continued to change its guidance on unemployment insurance, it was Gov. Beshear – not the Republicans – who stepped up and directed special payments to those on unemployment who did not qualify for the federal programs or were stuck in limbo due to federal regulations.
While Republicans at the federal level and state level tweet, take selfies, flail, and whine – while proposing absolutely nothing themselves – Gov. Beshear has led. Period.
He stepped up when the federal government failed us in 2020.
A governor is elected to govern, and that’s exactly what Andy Beshear has done. By nearly every metric, Kentucky has outperformed its neighbors when it comes to keeping our people safe. At the same time, we’re outpacing those same neighbors in economic success.
So when Mac Brown or other Republicans want to take credit, remember that they did not lead during this pandemic. They only tweeted, whined, and complained and then ignored legislation that would actually help Kentuckians. When presented with opportunities to help, while Kentuckians were sick, knocked down, and yes, even dying, they just said no.
Until they start to truly support Kentuckians and put down their phones and stop worrying about their next press release, Republicans don’t deserve credit for a single positive metric our commonwealth has right now. They continue to do what Republicans have done for decades, take credit for work they’ve never done, believing we are too ignorant to know they are lying.
We know better.