Governor Matt Bevin


This interview was orginally published on July 7, 2019.

Incumbent Governor Matt Bevin tells WEKU's Wendy Barnett in this exclusive web interview about his plans and priorities as he seeks a second term. WEKU is providing special coverage of statewide offices. 

Democratic candidate for Governor, Andy Beshear also spoke to WEKU here.

Stu Johnson

Motorists traveling along Lexington’s Avenue of Champions late Tuesday afternoon before the governor’s debate faced a gauntlet of sign waving political supporters.  At times, those championing Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear stood side-by-side.

In spite of gathering on the same side of the street, the allegiances for their candidate was clear, including overlapping chants of  “four more years” and “vote him out”​

Calling herself an accidental activist, teacher Laura Hartke believes Beshear stands out clearly with his support for educators.

Fancy Farm 2019 Audio Postcard

Aug 5, 2019
Liam Niemeyer / WKMS

The 139th Annual Fancy Farm Picnic on Saturday brought barbecue, bingo and heaps of political mudslinging. 

From chants of "Moscow Mitch" to bitter rivals Governor Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear sharing the stage to jokes and jabs from downticket candidates, the fundraiser for St. Jerome's Catholic Church in rural west Kentucky saw a large turnout and marked the unofficial kick-off of the fall campaign season. 

Here's an audio postcard:

Stu Johnson

Gov. Matt Bevin was in Lexington Friday to announce a legislative proposal to prohibit sanctuary cities in Kentucky.

Bevin said the measure is proactive as no local municipalities are currently claiming sanctuary city status.

“But we also don’t want a slippery slope," he said.  The proposed legislation is "just to clarify and get out in front of it."

Leaders from county governments across the Commonwealth got an update Friday on the state’s effort to expand high speed internet connections.  Gov. Matt Bevin and Congressman Hal Rogers addressed a meeting of the county judges association.  The first portion of the expanded broadband network  is now complete and includes Louisville, Lexington, and Northern Kentucky. 

Work continues to reach into southeastern Kentucky.  Harlan County Judge Dan Mosely said his county’s proposed “build-ready” business park site is ideally situated.

Stu Johnson

More than 600 probation and parole officers and supervisors will be the first to reap pay benefits from an adjustment in the midpoint range of the state salary schedule.  The roughly 12% increase for most of these workers was announced at Lexington’s parole and probation office Wednesday. 

Tom Stephens is secretary of the State Personnel Cabinet. “To be clear, this is not an across the board increase for all employees, but another tool in the toolbox to retain and attract the very best,” said Stephens.

Buffalo Trace District Health Department

The president of the Kentucky Health Departments Association said public health agencies across the Commonwealth are preparing budgets, realizing pension relief may not come from Frankfort soon.  Governor Bevin has unveiled his latest proposal for quasi-government agencies and regional universities.  But he’s not made a decision yet about any special legislative session.


Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis says the state labor cabinet issued subpoenas tied to public school teachers’ sickout protests in Frankfort is an issue out of his control. 

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said Tuesday he’ll take Gov. Matt Bevin to court if he doesn’t rescind the subpoenas.  

Stu Johnson

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin used a roundtable meeting in Lexington Wednesday to discuss a school choice proposal offered up by the Trump administration.  

It comes in the form of a  $5 billion dollar national tax credit scholarship program.

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education President Aaron Thompson along with administrators at five comprehensive universities remain intensely interested in a pension fix.  Governor Bevin this week vetoed the bill adopted by lawmakers which sought to aid schools and many quasi-governmental groups transition their retirement strategies.

A federal judge has again struck down Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s changes to the Medicaid program, including community engagement requirements that would have made some people work to keep coverage.

The Medicaid changes were set to partially go into effect April 1. Wednesday’s decision is the second time U.S. District Judge James Boasberg struck down Kentucky’s proposal – the first was in June 2018.

Stu Johnson

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. 

Stu Johnson

A little less than 24 hours after Gov. Matt Bevin summoned lawmakers to Frankfort to make changes to the state’s pension systems, the legislature voted to end the special session.

The development is a blow to the governor, who called the special session days after the state Supreme Court struck down a new pension law that Bevin signed earlier this year.

Special Legislation Session On Pensions Underway

Dec 18, 2018
Stu Johnson

Kentucky lawmakers will be back at the capital today for day two of a special legislative session called by Governor Bevin.  It comes less than a week after the State Supreme Court struck down public pension reform legislation passed earlier this year.  

Senate President Robert Stivers was asked if the governor’s call was in reaction to the court ruling. “This session is in reaction to a pension problem that is the biggest fiscal problem in this state,” said Stivers.

The Republican leader of the Kentucky Senate believes the election outcomes this week could carry political weight for future races.  Robert Stivers attended Andy Barr’s Election Night event Tuesday.


Mike McCardwell, a retired teacher from Shelbyville, says he thinks anger over the pension issue hasn’t waned after massive teacher protests earlier this year. 

He says educators are still mad that Gov. Matt Bevin said opponents to the pension bill have a “thug mentality.” 

McCardwell told Barton, “For 40 years I’ve encouraged students to honor the government and value the government because America’s a great country. I was disappointed the teachers were attacked by legislators and by the governor. As I said, I don’t like being called a thug after working for 40 years.”


The Kentucky Democratic Party has filed an ethics complaint against Gov. Matt Bevin for tweeting out his support for embattled Congressman Andy Barr’s reelection campaign from his official Twitter account. 

On Saturday, Bevin posted a picture taken in the audience of the rally at Eastern Kentucky University’s Alumni Coliseum, saying he was in a packed house of people who love the president and are supporting Barr’s reelection. 

Stu Johnson

Governor Matt Bevin believes portions of Thursday’s Kentucky Supreme Court hearing on the new pension reform law were, in his words, “not on the matters that really are of importance”. 

The governor offered his thoughts after participating in a Lexington event Friday. “The desire to focus on technicalities and not on the merits of the suit and of what is and what is not inviolable was I think wasted opportunity,” said Bevin.

Amid a shortage of skilled workers, Gov. Matt Bevin says that the state and country need to focus on training young people to fill jobs in high-demand industries like manufacturing, healthcare and transportation.

The governor once again singled out French literature as an area of study that the students shouldn’t focus on.

On Wednesday, a federal appeals court will hear arguments over a Kentucky law requiring doctors to show and describe a fetal ultrasound to patients before conducting an abortion.

The law also requires doctors to play audio of the fetal heartbeat, even if patients object.

The measure was struck down by a lower court last fall, citing concerns over the psychological harm it could cause. But Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration appealed the decision to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Andy Beshear Expected to Announce Run for Governor

Jul 9, 2018

Attorney General Andy Beshear will launch a run for Kentucky governor this week and his running mate will be an assistant high school principal and political recruiter. The Democrat has a deep rivalry with Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

Beshear sent out a press release on Sunday promoting a series of speaking events across the state on Monday and Tuesday in order to make an “announcement concerning future of Kentucky.”

Gov. Matt Bevin says in order to put an end to school shootings, parents need to stop over-medicating their children and steer them away from cell phones and violent video games.

The governor’s comments came during a listening session hosted by the Federal Commission on School Safety, which was created by President Donald Trump earlier this year.

Gov. Matt Bevin has shuffled his leadership team again, tapping Labor Cabinet Secretary Derrick Ramsey to be the new leader of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

As the cabinet’s new secretary, Ramsey will oversee several worker training and education programs, including agencies like the Kentucky Department of Education, Kentucky Educational Television and Unemployment Insurance Commission.

KY Labor Cabinet

Derrick Ramsey

The Kentucky Board of Education has voted to accept the resignation of Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt.

The board's decision comes one day after Republican Gov. Matt Bevin replaced most of the board with new members. The appointments mean everyone on the board has now been chosen by Bevin, who took office in December 2015.

Governor Bevin Vetoes Pension Phase In Measure

Apr 5, 2018

Governor Matt Bevin has vetoed legislation allowing local governments to cover pension cost increases over time.  In his veto message, Bevin said it’s not the phase-in section of the measure which worries him.  The governor says some buy out provisions create too much risk to retirement systems and could burden taxpayers.

Gov. Matt Bevin and Congressman Hal Rogers this weekend announced plans for a $3.4 million water project in eastern Kentucky.  In all, more than four and a half million dollars will go to address long standing problems in one Appalachian community.

Stu Johnson

Kentucky lawmakers are being asked to make significant changes in the state’s criminal justice system. Much of the formal capitol rotunda announcement Tuesday focused on ways to reduce prison populations and save taxpayer dollars.


Gov. Matt Bevin has filed a lawsuit in response to a legal challenge over Kentucky’s new Medicaid work requirement.

Kentucky is the first state in the country to require people to work or volunteer in order to keep Medicaid benefits.


Stu Johnson

Kentucky Habitat for Humanity is launching a three-year initiative aimed at accelerating construction of affordable housing.  Habitat is joining about 50 non-profit housing providers.  The formal announcement of the 2020 Housing Vision project came Monday at the state capitol.

Governor Matt Bevin says the Commonwealth’s homelessness problem is troubling.  “Kentucky has more homeless students per capita than any state in America.  What a tragic and terrible statistic to lead the nation in.  This is why this matters.  Every single bit of it matters,” said Bevin.