6:52am

Tue November 1, 2011
All Politics are Local

Challengers have Governor Playing Debate Defense

The economy dominated an often contentious gubernatorial debate hosted last night by Kentucky Educational Television.   For only this second time this year, all three candidates appeared together in a forum.  Incumbent Democrat Steve Beshear repeated Kentucky’s economy may pick up quicker than other states.

“Kentucky is starting to come out of this recession and I think because of what we’ve done, is gonna come out a lot faster and a lot better off than most other states,” said Beshear.

The governor puts a lot of stock in economic incentives offered in his administration. Still, Independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith hasn’t been impressed.

“I do not believe the present governor has put forth a plan that will help to take the hard edges off this to slow Kentucky’s fall,” said Galbraith.

GOP challenger and Senate President David Williams spent most of the 90-minute debate attacking the Beshear Administration.  Williams, who trails in the polls, says the time to act on tax reform is now.

 “I mean there’s no certainty that we’ll have a recovery that will include the creation of jobs,” said Williams.

Beshear has suggested now is not the time to change tax structure due to a fragile economy. 

The Governor also had to defend a managed health care program that begins statewide today.  He claimed it will save the state one-point-three billion dollars over three years.

 “And it says we’re only gonna pay you x dollars per patient per month for the whole year…so you can take that…you can add it up and you can go back and look at what we’ve been paying…and that’s where you can verify the savings…and it’s right there in black and white,” said Beshear.

However, G-O-P challenger David Williams doesn’t buy the savings projections.

“None of the commitments he’s made in terms of savings have been lived up to at this juncture….He’s already lost a month 25 percent of this year is already gone… and to meet his budget projections he would need to cut 500 million dollars in Medicaid services out and it’s not gonna happen,” said Williams.

Given such gridlock between Republicans and Democrats, Independent Gatewood Galbraith argued he could help Frankfort transcend political bickering.

“You know I thought tonight was a microcosm of exactly what is wrong with this state is that partisanship trumps everything,” said Galbraith.

This was the last scheduled debate between the three gubernatorial candidates before voters cast their ballots one week from today.