Family Foundation asks Beshear for debate on gambling

jpatton1@herald-leader.comJanuary 5, 2012 

The Family Foundation, a conservative advocacy group that opposes expanded gambling, has asked Gov. Steve Beshear to debate the merits of bringing casinos to the state, of which Beshear has long been a proponent.

The foundation's executive director, Kent Ostrander, in a letter sent Tuesday, invited Beshear to "a public debate between you and me on the merits and problems of expanded casino-style gambling in Kentucky. Clearly, you have passionately advocated for such legalization for almost five years now, and I have similarly argued on the other side."

Ostrander suggested a 90-minute debate moderated by either KET's Bill Goodman or WKYT's Bill Bryant.

Beshear did not directly respond to Ostrander's request on Wednesday.

"This issue has been debated for 15 years now, and two recent polls show that more than 80 percent of Kentuckians want to cast a vote on expanded gaming. Hundreds of millions of dollars leave Kentucky every year through gaming in surrounding states. That's Kentucky money that pays for teachers, police officers, schools and roads in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and West Virginia. The Governor's focus right now is giving Kentuckians an opportunity to speak for themselves at the ballot box," said Beshear spokeswoman Kerri Richardson said late Wednesday.

The governor has said he expects a constitutional amendment on casinos to be filed this week or next in the Senate.

"A debate would give Kentucky citizens an articulation of the various underlying issues in the casino gambling discussion and help them understand the pros and cons of such a change to the Constitution," Ostrander said in his letter.

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