LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — The gloves were off between Gov. Andy Beshear and Attorney General Daniel Cameron in a debate Monday night on Kentucky’s public television stations.
Two weeks out from Kentucky’s general election, Beshear and Cameron met for their testiest exchanges yet on the campaign trail. The first sparks started flying in the conversation over COVID-19 and its effects on education.
“This attorney general saying he would have sent teachers into classrooms, poorly ventilated old buildings before they could get even the option to get a vaccine,” Beshear said.
“Wait a minute, you were for shutting our schools down for two years. Did you shut our schools down for two years? Do we have learning loss because of those shutdowns?” Cameron responded back.
Beshear is campaigning for an 11% pay raise for all school employees in the state and argues that if state police raises help out their numbers, it will help out Kentucky’s teacher shortage and learning loss from COVID. But Cameron made the point that Beshear’s difficult relationship with the General Assembly does not make that a guarantee.
“He proposed a 5% raise. You didn’t get it. Now he’s proposing an 11% raise, and you didn’t get it. And the reason that you haven’t gotten any of those? Because this governor has no relationships with the legislature,” Cameron said.
“Our last budget did end up providing raises. It ended up being up to the school system how much. On average, it was 3%–5%,” Beshear responded.
“But the governor knows there are so many teachers that did not get raises,” Cameron interjected.
Cameron was once again pressed on his abortion stance. The current statewide ban leaves no room for rape or incest exceptions.
“From a personal conviction, do you believe that in cases of rape or incest, abortion should be an illegal option for women in Kentucky? Yes or no, sir,” moderator Renee Shaw asked.
“Look, if the legislature brings me that bill, I will sign those exceptions,” Cameron repeated.
Some other takeaways from the debate: Gov. Beshear publicly said for the first time he did not know non-genital gender surgeries had occurred in the state when he said in an ad they did not. Cameron also said he wants to “clean house” and replace executive leadership at the Department of Juvenile Justice after ongoing safety issues.