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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Matt Bevin's War Against Appalachian Kentuckians...

...And All Other Kentuckians!


Three times in my lifetime Kentucky voters have made the mistake of electing a Republican governor.  In each case, it has become increasingly more disastrous.  The election of Louis Nunn was survivable and actually led to a period of extended peace from the Republican party.  Louie Nunn served from 1967 to 1971.  He is perpetually known for having raised the state sales tax from 3% to 5% and for many years it was known derisively as Nunn's Nickel.  Eventually, the tax was raised to 6% and Nunn lost some of his notoriety.  The next Republican governor elected was Ernie Fletcher who served from 2003 to 2007.  His administration resulted in multiple indictments of Republican officials which Fletcher managed to quash with executive pardons. These indictments included several members of the state highway department who had apparently been requiring membership in the Republican Party to receive a job in the state highway department. Due to the fact that prosecutors could no longer induce the pardoned officials to testify in court, Fletcher was able to escape by pleading guilty to a single misdemeanor and has wandered out of the public eye into the anonymity he deserves.  Fletcher was succeeded from 2007 to 2015 by Steve Beshear who conducted one of the most effective and progressive administrations in modern Kentucky history.  But in the election of 2015, an electorate of only 20% of registered voters made the tragic mistake of electing another Republican, Matt Bevin, who had lied, switched positions much like a flap jack on a griddle during the campaign, and had been clearly proven to be interested in only his own pursuit of power. This plurality of a very small minority of registered voters chose to elect Bevin over Jack Conway, a very effective attorney general. 
Literally, from the day the election was confirmed, Bevin has waged an economic war against every citizen of Kentucky.  Using the purchase of several elected Democrats in the state house by giving them highly paid state jobs, Bevin made an outright effort to buy the state house and made a political bet that Right Wing Republican candidates could win the special elections to replace the turncoat Democrats Bevin had been able to buy.  Luckily, voters in three of the four districts which were forced to hold special elections because of his efforts, Bevin's designated Republican candidates lost and Democrats maintain control of the state house.  This control of one house of the legislature has prevented a disaster from becoming a total conflagration of right wing legislation. 

From the start of his campaign for the governor's office, Bevin made another political bet that if he could be elected and manage to put enough money into the retirement fund for state employees that the current and retired state workers, a consistently high percentage voting block, would be loyal to him and help him gain further control and a second election as governor.  The outcome of that effort is waiting to be seen.  In a compromise, the Democrat controlled state house, Republican controlled state senate, and Governor Bevin placed about $800,000,000 in the retirement fund.  But almost immediately after the money went into the bank account, Bevin started an effort to remove the board members and replace them with Republicans who would be loyal to him.  It is my suspicion that the real objective all along has been to place the money in the fund, reshape the board to his liking and control, and ultimately to begin an effort to gain control of the fund for some of Bevin's friends on Wall Street which could open the door for massive mismanagement and potential theft via billing of outrageous management fees.

Bevin has also essentially seized control of the board of directors of the Kentucky Horse Park, the most financially successful of the state parks.  His first move in that effort was to remove Jane Beshear, the former first lady from the board.  He also cut the board from 17 to 15 members which is an effort to lower the number of loyalists needed to gain control of the funds available in the Horse Park budget.   
Bevin has also used executive orders to take two actions which have the capacity to actually cost human lives in Appalachia. Very early in his administration, Bevin issued executive orders ceasing all state mandated training of mine foremen and all state mandated inspections of coal mines.  His action was clearly intended as a payback to coal operators who had actively supported his candidacy.  Although coal mining is in serious decline in Kentucky, the logical outcome of these executive orders will be serious decreases in safety in the mines which are operating.  While less miners are working today and therefore less miners are likely to die in total during the Bevin Administration, I have no doubt that the statistical ratio of deaths, injuries, and accidents to man hours worked will rise significantly due to the lack of state inspections and the increasing number of poorly trained mine foremen. 
Bevin also waged a great deal of his campaign on a stated intention to shut down the stated healthcare exchange which Governor Beshear had begun as a function of Obama Care.  The Obama Care program, during the Beshear Administration, had raised the level of insured people in the state to the highest level in history.  Several hundred thousand low income, elderly, minority, and disabled Kentuckians had health care for the first time in their lives.  The state healthcare exchange had been a model for several other states and was a shining example of just how effective and important Obama Care is and can be.  Bevin literally closed down the advertising for the program during the signup month and forced Kentucky citizens to use the federal exchange.  There is little doubt that several thousand Kentuckians, especially the less educated and less technologically adept, will have lost medical coverage which they had been benefitting from for the first time in their lives.  This action by Bevin was a clear cut attack on the poorest in the state as well as many minority citizens. 
Matt Bevin has also begun a steady economic onslaught at state boards, legislative actions, and any other area where significant amounts of money are handled. 



Anonymous said...

Who is pulling Bevin's strings?

Anonymous said...

People elected Matt Bevins to clean up the mess that the liberal democratic party left the state. As always these articles only show the divisive between the Republican and Democratic parties, purely politics put out by the establishment,