A Look at Governor Matt Bevin's Time in Office

Gov. Matt Bevin (R-KY) has been at the source of news this month relating to SB 151 being unexpectedly turned into a pension resolution bill from a bill focusing on the sewer systems.


This wouldn’t be the first instance Bevin has made headlines relating to the state’s educational system since coming into office as the 62nd governor of Kentucky in 2015.


One of the first stories to make headlines under Bevin’s time in office occurred when he was sued by the current state Attorney General Andy Beshear (D-KY) in early 2016.


Prior to this, Bevin had suggested to end Kynect, the health-insurance exchange started by former Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY) and spare the Medicaid program from budgets cuts with a plan to revamp the program.


While doing this, the budget did cut higher education prompting the response from Beshear.


According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Beshear had sued Bevin four times by June of 2017.


“A governor does not have ‘absolute authority’ over state boards and cannot ignore, suspend and rewrite laws passed by the General Assembly that create independent boards, outline their structure and set mandatory terms for their members,” said Beshear in the 2017 article published in the Herald-Leader.


Bevin had reorganized several state education boards in June of 2017 including the Kentucky Board of Education and the Education Professional Standards Board, which certifies teachers.


Beshear, in response, sued, claiming the role of governor did not give Bevin the legality to enforce changes upon these already established organizations which have a direct effect on Kentucky’s education systems.


Beshear had won his previous year’s lawsuit which countered legislature to cut funding for higher education in the state.


In 2017, Bevin was quoted while speaking with NewsRadio 840 WHAS talk show host Leland Conway as saying, "JCPS is a disaster in terms of the educational results. They have more failing schools than the entire rest of the state combined. It is an absolute, unmitigated disaster…," in reference to Jefferson County school systems.


However, according to the same report in Louisville Courier-Journal, Bevin had not visited one of the schools in question since being elected to the office of governor.


At the time, Brent Kim, president of the county’s teacher union said, "The governor fully funding the [Kentucky] Teacher Retirement System helps us attract and retain good teachers."  


SB 151 has a direct effect to the funding for Kentucky teachers at the time of their retirement. It puts teachers just coming into their roles on a system similar to a 401(k) and gives the state the ability to change benefits and reduce payment to anyone currently under contact for retirement, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.


This, in turn, can cause a spiral effect on future teachers coming into the place of those retiring because of the issue of their retirement plans being in question.


At the risk of not being given their share of the pie for the golden year, other career paths may have a stronger assurance.


Bevin had said in a 2015 interview reported by the Louisville Courier-Journal that he was “self-made.”


This would imply that Bevin had not had to rely on any kind of assistance from the government or private citizens. Bevin did, however, receive scholarships while attending college.


While being a self-made person is entirely possible, is it still within the government’s right to take a person’s retirement into its hands after they have worked to become what they are by themselves for the benefit of the future of Kentucky, which is our children.