Beshear, Democratic candidates make election stop in Hopkinsville

Zirconia Alleyne | Kentucky New Era

Gubernatorial candidate Andy Beshear speaks with the media Monday afternoon in front of Corner Coffeehouse while his father, former Gov. Steve Beshear, listens in. Beshear and a host of candidates from the Democratic Party made campaign stops in western Kentucky Monday to rally up voters.

While Gov. Matt Bevin was rallying with President Donald J. Trump in Lexington on election eve, Attorney General Andy Beshear continued his western Kentucky bus tour for governor with teachers and other Democratic candidates in tow.

One of the final stops on the six-day tour was at The Corner Coffeehouse in Hopkinsville, where Beshear — along with his running mate for lieutenant governor Jacqueline Coleman, secretary of state candidate Heather French Henry, agriculture commissioner candidate Robert Conway, auditor candidate Sheri Donahue and treasurer candidate Michael Bowman — spoke with constituents about their plans for each role if elected.

Beshear, who is also facing Libertarian candidate John Hicks for governor, said he felt good going into Election Day.

"We're crisscrossing this part of the state with a bus full of teachers, and we're doing it because they are going to be that part of the administration," he said. "We see excitement all over Kentucky at each and every stop, people who are demanding a governor who listens more than he talks, that solves more problems than he creates and would never engage in the bullying and name-calling that we've seen."

When asked how he felt about the president coming out for Bevin's campaign, Beshear doubled down on the issues he plans to focus on if elected governor.

"This race isn't about what's going on in the White House," he said. "It's about what's going on in each house here in Hopkinsville, across western Kentucky and across this state. It's about the anxieties that our families have ... public education, pensions, health care and jobs, and on every single one of those issues, Matt Bevin is wrong and we're going to do a whole lot of right."

Beshear believes he can work with the legislature where Republicans have the majority to get things done, noting that his opponent hasn't been able to work well with either side of the aisle.

"We wake up here in Kentucky, not as Democrats or Republicans," Beshear said, "but as moms and dads and people who live in a community that has needs. It's about getting back to the good people of Kentucky where we have more in common than could ever tear us apart."

Heather French Henry, secretary of state

Henry said voters on the campaign trail have been concerned about a number of issues, including the security of elections going into the 2020 presidential election and the upcoming budget session in January.

"I want to make sure we are preserving the right to vote that so many of our veterans fought for," Henry said, noting her experience as former commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs.

Henry said she will work to rebuild the relationship between the secretary of state's office and all 120 county clerks.

"They're boots on the ground running every election, and it's really the job of secretary of state to be able to be there to help facilitate that process, and I look forward to working with them," she said.

Henry faces Republican Michael G. Adams on today's ballot.

Michael Bowman, treasurer

Bowman said his experience as a banker will bring to the treasurer's office "the type of background that hasn't been seen in the treasurer's office in the last 30 years."

According to his campaign website, Bowman has worked in the private sector as a bank officer and branch manager.

Bowman said he plans to use his skillset to implement more accountability for how tax dollars are spent.

"We've had a rubber stamp in some of these constitutional offices that have done nothing but given the governor the greenlight to do whatever he feels he wants to do," Bowman said. "And, unfortunately when those policies are harmful to Kentucky families, you have a moral obligation to stand up."

Bowman said the state needs a larger revenue stream in order to fix the state's pension system and education, and he supports legalizing medical marijuana and expanding gaming to bring money into the state.

He faces Republican Allison Ball for state treasurer.

Robert Conway, ag commissioner

Conway said he started the race focused on saving family farms but has expanded his platform to saving all farms across the commonwealth.

"They're all in trouble," he said. "We're looking at a catastrophic situation that many of these people didn't ask for."

Conway said the ag commissioner must recruit young farmers; however, he said the key is making sure there's financial gain for them.

He went on to say that the current structure of the hemp program is "The Wild West" and a lot of farmers are suffering. Conway said he is part of a group of farmers that has a plan to restructure the program so that it is fair to all farmers.

"Right now, the commissioner of agriculture gets to determine who grows it and how much, and that's not fair," he said.

Conway faces incumbent Ag Commissioner Ryan Quarles and Libertarian Josh Gilpin on the ballot.

Sheri Donahue, state auditor

Donahue said her first task will be to do a full audit of the pension system.

"The current auditor did not do a full audit of the pension system like he promised four years ago," Donahue said of the incumbent Mike Harmon. "He let the governor do it; you don't let the fox guard the henhouse. It is the job of auditor to be an independent check on government."

Donahue, a former program manager for security and intelligence in the U.S. Navy, said improving cyber security at the county level is imperative.

"We aren't doing anything right now to protect people's information and tax dollars," she said.

Along with Harmon, Donahue faces Libertarian Kyle Hugenberg for auditor.

Steve Beshear, former governor and father of Andy Beshear

Although he's not on the ticket, Steve Beshear, a native of Dawson Springs, said a few words about coming on the bus tour with his son.

"I'm proud of what we did for eight years while I was governor," Beshear said. "I think we did a pretty good job, and Andy Beshear is going to build on that. He's going to take this state forward, and our families are going to see a better future because of him."

Rocky Adkins, minority floor leader of the House

Rocky Adkins was also at his former primary opponent's side Monday, urging voters to vote for Beshear.

"I think it's time to bring someone who will bring the leadership to bring people together instead of tearing people apart," Adkins said. "I'm still the Democrat leader of the House, and I want a governor I can work with."

On the budget session, Adkins said it's important to have a governor who presents a budget that "lifts Kentucky up."

"We need a budget that provides for expanded Medicaid and that provides for a strong health care industry across Kentucky, which in turn, allows us to recruit those jobs of the future," Adkins said. "So, a budget session, 800 bills will be introduced, and to have a leader we need in a governor like Andy Beshear is going to be critical; it's going to be crucial for us to build that Kentucky that we all want to see for the future."

Democratic attorney general candidate Greg Stumbo was not on the bus tour Monday. He faces Republican candidate Daniel Cameron.

Polls are open today from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. To find your voting location, visit https://vrsws.sos.ky.gov/VIC/

Reach Zirconia Alleyne at 270-887-3243 or zalleyne@kentuckynewera.com.

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