Andy Beshear | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Andy Beshear

Political party: 
Question 1: 

What’s your vision for Kentucky? How will our commonwealth be better in four years if you’re elected?

Fully funding public education is the greatest economic investment we can make for our children. A good education gives every child—no matter in which zip code they live— a shot at the American dream. 

As attorney general, I’m fighting to protect all Kentuckians’ rights to affordable health care. I’ve joined several attorneys general fighting against a recent Texas ruling that would eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions, which would leave hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians without health insurance. 

As governor, I will also immediately repeal Gov. Bevin’s Medicaid waiver. 

We will work to recruit companies that don’t just bring jobs, but good-paying jobs you can raise a family on. Kentucky’s wage and job growth is the third worst in the nation.  

I’m the most aggressive attorney general in the nation fighting opioid manufacturers and distributors in court. I’ve kept all nine lawsuits in Kentucky and directed $8 million so far to 15 treatment centers. I will continue that fight as governor. 

We will bring transparency and decency back to Frankfort. My running mate and I have released our tax returns so Kentuckians know who we work for. I call on every candidate to do the same.

Question 2: 

If you are elected Governor, what steps will you take to encourage transparency, media access and meaningful public participation in decisions made by state government?

Making Frankfort more transparent is one of my top priorities. 

That’s why I’ve released my taxes every year for the past three years, and my running mate, Jacqueline Coleman, will release her taxes this year for the second year in a row. I think every person seeking the office of governor or lieutenant governor should meet this standard. 

I’ve reopened the Capitol doors each and every time Gov. Bevin tried to shut people out. Kentuckians should always be able to access their state house—especially when they disagree with those inside.

I also believe that state legislators should have term limits, just like constitutional officers. 

The people of Kentucky deserve nothing less than full transparency from their government.

Question 3: 

Do you believe that we have an obligation and opportunity to act on climate change? What actions would you take to ensure that solutions, such as clean energy jobs and reducing high energy bills, benefit all Kentuckians, including low-income communities, communities of color, and those who are most impacted by the changing climate?

Climate change is real. We need an all-the-above energy policy that includes renewables and any jobs that will create.

At the same time, one of the biggest challenges our Kentucky families face, especially in eastern Kentucky, is their energy bills going up year after year, while good jobs are hard to find and keep, and wages remain flat. 

Kentucky families shouldn’t have to choose between putting food on the table and paying their utility bills. Unfortunately, that’s a decision many families have to make. 

As attorney general over the last three years, my office has opposed dozens of utility bill hikes, and has helped save Kentucky families nearly $1.2 billion. 

And another $200 million in rate hikes that would impact about 90 counties are currently proposed. At a time when we lost 2,000 jobs in October, our families simply can’t afford it. 

I fight hard on this front every day in the attorney general’s office. 

We need a governor who understands the struggles facing our people. Kentucky families can trust that I’ll always put their interests first.

Question 4: 

Do you support a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights to tens of thousands of Kentuckians with felonies in their past who have completed their full sentence? If the state legislature remains locked on this issue, would you use executive power to restore voting rights to all Kentuckians with felonies in their past who are currently restricted from voting? Please explain.

Voting is a fundamental American right. Unfortunately, Kentucky has the third highest voter disenfranchisement rate in the country. Nearly one in 10 Kentuckians, and nearly one in four African-Americans, aren’t allowed to vote.

This is wrong. 

I support restoring voting rights for Kentuckians with felony convictions for non-violent crimes, and who have completed their sentence. 

Like the last Governor Beshear, I will sign an executive order automatically restoring voting rights and allowing offenders to hold public office. We can’t expect someone to pay off his or her debt to society and then have his or her voice silenced in the most fundamental right we each have. It’s essentially like asking someone to pay taxes but not have a say in who represents them. 

My administration will ensure all Kentuckians have a voice in their state government and in their communities once they’ve paid their debt to society.

Question 5: 

Will you protect or even expand access to Medicaid for the nearly 400,000 low-income Kentuckians who qualified for health care – including vision, dental and mental health – for the first time under the Affordable Care Act? What is your view of the current administration’s efforts to limit access to Medicaid, including new co-pay requirements, restrictions on vision and dental coverage and work requirements?

Affordable healthcare is a basic human right. Every Kentuckian should have access to quality, affordable healthcare. I’m currently fighting to protect healthcare for all Kentuckians. 

If elected, I will repeal the Medicaid waiver immediately. If implemented, this waiver would cause 100,000 Kentuckians to lose their healthcare. Most on expanded Medicaid are working one or two jobs or caring for an ailing family member.

I will absolutely keep expanded Medicaid in place, which helped nearly 500,000 Kentuckians gain access to healthcare, many for the first time. 

This isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s also good for our economy. 

As attorney general, I’ve stood up time and again when this governor has tried to strip health care from hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians. I proudly joined other attorneys general opposing a ruling by a Texas judge  that would end the expansion, remove protections for pre-existing conditions, charge women and seniors more for health services and rip coverage away from many of our friends and neighbors. 

As governor, I will stabilize the market, lower the cost of prescription drugs and make sure insurance companies can’t send you a “surprise bill,” because everyone is paying too much for health care.

Question 6: 

What is the Governor’s role in opposing white supremacy, addressing racial inequality and supporting racial justice for black people, Latinx people, immigrants, those who are undocumented, and all people of color in Kentucky? Please identify at least two policy initiatives you would propose as Governor to address racial and systemic inequalities.

Kentuckians deserve a governor that they can look up to and turn to in tough times for guidance and leadership, and we’ve been missing that for three years. 

In the Attorney General’s Office, I’m proud that more than 60 percent of the leadership positions are held by women or people of color. As governor, my cabinet will include Kentuckians of all different backgrounds—because government works best when all of us have a seat at the table.

A Beshear/Coleman administration will build a government that works for every single one of us, not just the well-connected few.

Question 7: 

Kentucky has a tax code that does not raise enough revenue to meet the Commonwealth’s budgetary needs. After years of budget cuts, public education, infrastructure, state worker pensions and other essential programs have reached dangerous levels of disinvestment. What solutions would you support to raise the necessary revenue for the public investments Kentuckians need and deserve?

As governor, I will support two ways of generating new revenue without raising anyone’s taxes: expanded gaming and medical marijuana.

It is time that Kentucky keep up with surrounding states and moves toward expanded gaming. Hundreds of millions of dollars are lost every year to bordering states who allow various types of gaming. I’ve lead the way on this issue for years and it’s long overdue. 

We also have the ability now to bring in money from sports betting, fantasy sports, casino gaming and online poker. 

This would create jobs and a dedicated revenue stream for our pension system. If we could secure hundreds of millions of dollars for our ailing pension system. With this new source of revenue for pensions, we would then have more money to spend on infrastructure and public education. 

I also think it’s time to let the people of Kentucky decide whether to legalize medical marijuana via constitutional amendment. But we need to act quickly so we aren’t left behind.

Question 8: 

Do you support Kentucky’s public workers having a quality public pension? What do you consider to be a quality public pension?

I personally fought for and defended the promised pensions of more than 200,000 teachers, police officers, firefighters, EMS, social workers and nearly every city and county employee in the front of the Kentucky Supreme Court and won. 

Yes. I believe Kentucky’s public workers deserve a defined benefit retirement plan.

The role they play in our society is crucial, and they deserve a solid and guaranteed retirement. 

We must also keep the promises we’ve made to them. A quality public pension allows our retirees to have a degree of security and peace of mind in return for their dedicated years of service. 

The name calling and bullying from our current governor has done nothing constructively to move this issue forward. All of our public workers deserve to retire with dignity.

Question 9: 

What will you do to support LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer) Kentuckians? What will you do to protect people from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity?

As attorney general, I’ve been a voice for the voiceless and ensured everyone is equally protected under the law I’ve sworn to uphold. 

In my office, we designed the first Attorney General’s Survivors Council and just added 20 incoming members who will advocate for victims rights the next two years throughout the Commonwealth and nation. 

As governor, I will continue to do the same. Discrimination is wrong, and I’ll be a governor for every Kentucky resident.

Question 10: 

 Kentucky has the ninth highest incarceration rate in the nation, is second in the nation for incarcerating women, and has the second highest rate in the country of children separated from a parent due to incarceration. In addition, black Kentuckians makeup 8.3% of the state population but 21% of the state’s incarcerated population. Are you committed to ending mass incarceration in Kentucky? If elected, what will you do to make strides toward ending mass incarceration?

There’s no doubt that bias exists in our criminal justice system; it is shameful and it needs to be eliminated. We lock up a disproportionate number of people of color, and that is wrong. As Dr. King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” I’m committed to rooting out this bias and discrimination; I’ve worked to do so as attorney general and will continue to do so as governor.