As expected, Gov. Matt Bevin’s State of the Commonwealth speech Thursday night drew a strong reaction, particularly from Democratic lawmakers.
House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins said there are areas of bipartisanship in fighting opioids, foster care reforms, and school safety. But, the long-time Democratic lawmaker and one of those challenging Bevin for governor, said sections of Kentucky are missing out on economic prosperity. Adkins went further on public pensions, saying Bevin is wrong on that issue.
Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey said Bevin’s speech lacked, “vision for what we’re going to do over the next few weeks or the next few months.”
“It was the moment where the governor came in and it sounded like he was calling for unity, but you’ve got to do more than just call for unity when you come before the legislature. You’re going to have to show for the next few weeks that you’re willing to work with the legislature that you haven’t talked to for the last two years.”
Bevin talked positively about pension and education funding levels and enacted tax reforms.
Last spring, the governor vetoed the general assembly approved budget, the tax bill, and a pension phase in measure. The legislature overturned those vetoes. Following his speech last night, House Speaker David Osborne maintained the governor and legislature can claim success. “We do have a tendency to sit back and start nit-picking about the little things that maybe we would have liked to have seen done differently or we haven’t quite gotten exactly how we would like them. But I think, at the end of the day, it’s important that we dial back every once in a while, and say ‘gosh we’ve done really good work here and let’s be proud of that,” noted Osborne.
The governor used multi-media extensively throughout his speech with pictures highlighting state refurbishing and manufacturing successes. He also used photos to illustrate the challenges of school shootings, drug overdose, and suicide.
Following the governor's speech WEKU'S Stu Johnson spoke with first-term Representative Deanna Frazier: