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Bevin, Beshear Agree 'The Time Of Can-Kicking Is Over In Kentucky'

Andy Beshear and Governor Matt Bevin greet each other before the final Kentucky gubernatorial debate Oct. 29, 2019 at Northern Kentucky University.
Albert Cesare, The Cincinnati Enquirer
Andy Beshear and Governor Matt Bevin greet each other before the final Kentucky gubernatorial debate Oct. 29, 2019 at Northern Kentucky University.

Kentucky incumbent Republican Governor Matt Bevin and Democratic challenger Attorney General Andy Beshear don't agree on much. But at Tuesday night's debate at Northern Kentucky University, the rivals agreed that the proverbial can shouldn't be kicked down the road when it comes to fixing problems like the Brent Spence Bridge.

As for how they would fix the bridge, gun laws and the state's pension crisis, opinions varied.

Federal and state officials of both political parties have made unfulfilled promises when it comes to infrastructure. Bevin says public and private dollars should be used to fix the bridge, and says tolling is one method.

Beshear says Bevin has had his four years to make a difference.

"I believe that the people of Northern Kentucky and not this governor should get to determine the manner in which that bridge is going to be funded," he says.

Bevin's pension bill allows some agencies to bail out of the system. His decision on the future of pensions was up for debate.

Bevin says he's the only governor who has funded the system. "A pension has been promised to people, but here's the reality," he says. "If we keep promising the same things to future employees there is zero percent chance that the future employees, current or even those already retired are going to get what was promised to them."

But Beshear has a different idea.

"His solution is to raise your taxes," he says. "Mine is new dedicated revenue that will go solely to this pension system." Beshear wants to use money from gaming to fund it.

Retired teacher Janet Jackson believes the future of pensions will have a better chance if Beshear is elected. But if it's Bevin "it will be the same four years we've been fighting, protesting and just standing up for our rights and our children's rights."

Longtime Bellevue resident Bill Woody came to the debate leaning toward Bevin but says he wanted to hear both sides for himself. "I'm worried about the fiscal future of Kentucky," he says. "We have some serious financial issues ahead of us with the teacher's pension, Medicare and Medicaid."

Both candidates support the ability to purchase assault weapons, but draw the line in different places.

Bevin says he wouldn't restrict ownership on assault weapons. "The Second Amendment exactly as it is written is exactly what our founders intended," he says.

But Beshear draws a line elsewhere. "I support a red flag law. I do not believe an assault ban is right for Kentucky."

Kentucky voters will decide on their next governor at the polls next week on Nov. 5.

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Ambriehl Crutchfield
Ambriehl is a general assignment reporter with interest in education and communities. She works to amplify underrepresented voices and advance daily news stories. She comes to WVXU with previous reporting experience at NPR member stations WBEZ in Chicago and WKYU in Bowling Green, Ky.