News and Music Discovery
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Republican Gubernatorial Candidates Converge on McCracken Co. GOP Dinner

Three of the four Republican gubernatorial candidates converged in Paducah Friday night to court votes at the McCracken County Republican Party’s Reagan Dinner, held at the Carson Center.

There, former Louisville councilman and businessman Hal Heiner made his case, saying that, in addition to concentrating on jobs, he would be an “education governor” if elected.

Credit John Null/WKMS
Gubernatorial candidate Hal Heiner (right) speaks with state Sen. and candidate for treasurer Kenny Imes in the Carson Center's Ingram Room

 “We need more options for kids, more specialized forms of education,” Heiner said. “We’re doing, across the state as a whole, really well with about 50 percent of our kids, but our other 50 percent, we need to adopt the specialized forms that you see in states north and south of us that are zooming in education, while we, as a state, stay relatively flatlined.”

Candidate Matt Bevin, also a Louisville businessman, says Kentucky needs to start using outcome-based funding in higher education. He says a recent education plan rollout from fellow gubernatorial candidate James Comer came too late after his own “Blueprint for a Better Kentucky”, which emphasized modernizing Kentucky’s education.

Credit WKMS/John Null
Matt Bevin speaks to reporters before Friday's event at the Carson Center

“We have a lot of dollars going to higher education at taxpayer expense,” Bevin said. “Let’s be smarter and more uniform and less political about how those dollars are allocated.”

Bevin also supports Kentucky withdrawing from the Common Core system.

Comer’s running mate, Kentucky state Sen. Chris McDaniel - says their higher education reimbursement plan will be tiered depending on which state university or college a student attends. He said a student will be reimbursed $20,000 if they go to the University of Kentucky or the University of Louisville and then remain in-state. But students who attend "regional universities" like Murray State University or Northern Kentucky University could be reimbursed up to $15,000.

McDaniel said students who finish a degree at a state community and technical college in three years will do so at no cost under the plan.

“If they have a tax bill for, say, $1,500, but they’ve got $4,000 worth of credit, they’ll get a $2,500 refund check," McDaniel said. "And these are the things that will help keep the cost of higher education down in the commonwealth.”

Comer opted to attend an event in Pikeville Friday night. He has previously polled far ahead of the other candidates in western Kentucky, but lagged in other areas of the commonwealth.

Former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott says that western Kentucky - specifically Paducah - would figure into his administration if elected governor. He referenced the loss of jobs at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant and skyrocketing rates for Paducah Power System customers.

  “The next governor of Kentucky has got to come out here and help pull Paducah out of this swamp," Scott said. "You’re losing business. Your power bills are up. It looks like it will continue down the road unless we do something, but I've talked to your mayor, I've talked to your county judge and we've got to get down here and get Frankfort's hand in this and restore this jewel of the Ohio."

Scott says getting rid of kynect - the state's health benefit exchange - would be the first thing he does as governor.

The primary is set for May 19. The winner will in all likelihood go on to face presumptive Democratic nominee, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway.

John Null is the host and creator of Left of the Dial. From 2013-2016, he also served as a reporter in the WKMS newsroom.
Related Content