(LEX 18) — Teachers and public education. These are two key points that will make a big impact when it comes to Kentucky's gubernatorial race. So, both candidates for governor are touting their promises. However, the videos they've released paint two very different pictures. Pictures that contradict one another.
Andy Beshear's latest ad, titled "Lights Out," features him and his running mate, Jacqueline Coleman, visiting a public school in Mercer County. The ad begins with Coleman narrating, "Imagine having just one school in your community, and the lights are turned off forever." They then appear on screen, with Beshear adding, "That could happen with Governor Bevin's education cuts."
The Beshear/Coleman campaign said the ad focuses "on protecting the future of public education in Kentucky."
"The future of public education is at stake this election," said Beshear in a press release for the new ad. "While families are worried about keeping the lights on at their public school, Matt Bevin bullies teachers and tries to tear down public education. Jacqueline and I will fully fund our public schools and improve public education, so we can lift up all of our families in every corner of Kentucky," Beshear continued.
A few hours after the ad's release, Gov. Matt Bevin fired back, criticizing the ad for inciting fear.
"It's a scare tactic put out by Andy Beshear," said Bevin at a press conference at the Governor's Mansion. "Trying to scare people into believing schools are being shut down," Bevin continued.
Bevin then showed a video of his own. It's titled, "The Truth," and it contradicts Beshear's claims.
The video begins with horses running in a field while a narrator speaks. "Matt Bevin not caring about teachers or state retirees, well - that's just a load of horse manure," said the narrator.
Matt Bevin then appears on camera saying, "We've made promises to people who've worked for our state."
"They've been teachers. They've been snowplow drivers. They've been law enforcement officers. They've been social workers," said Bevin. "To each and every one of these people, we have a legal and moral obligation."
The Bevin campaign said this web video touts the Governor's "track record on education and pensions, pushing back on the false narrative being advanced by Andy Beshear and his liberal allies, including the KEA."
"Matt Bevin is the first governor of Kentucky to fully fund the pension system, and the first to use 100 percent of lottery funds for education," said the campaign. "Under Governor Bevin, Kentucky is spending more per K-12 pupil than ever before."
In his press conference, Bevin brought up those specific items as well.
First, he said he's the first governor in history to fully fund Kentucky's pension system. While it's true that he has fully funded the pension system, it's not true that he's the first. Records show other governors have done it as well, but not within the last two decades.
Bevin also touted that he's the first to put 100 percent of lottery money into education. He added that spending on education per student is the highest in history under his administration.
"It is higher per pupil than it has ever been before," said Bevin. "And if you want to try to find a way in which you can say that, versus $19, $18, or if we used gold backed currency, or if we did it in bitcoin, I'm sure you can find someway to turn this into a negative."
In an email, Beshear's campaign called Bevin's comments today a "meltdown."
“Matt Bevin can’t run and hide from his disastrous record of bullying teachers, tearing down public education, and trying to illegally cut pensions,” said Beshear/Coleman Campaign Manager Eric Hyers. “Instead of holding wild and unhinged press conferences, this governor should explain why he spent last month insulting, investigating and threatening to fine teachers. Andy Beshear is focused every day on doing right by our public schools, protecting public pensions, and giving our teachers the raise they deserve.”