Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration has declined to issue a proclamation to honor the United Nations, an organization often criticized by Tea Party Republicans.
Teena Halbig, president and chief executive officer of the UNA-USA (United Nations Association of the United States of America) Kentucky chapter, said she was disappointed that she could not get Bevin, a Republican, to sign a proclamation to declare a United Nations Day in Kentucky near or on Oct. 24.
“No governor has ever turned us down until now,” said Halbig, of Louisville, “as state proclamations like this has been going on for decades.”
Bevin strategic communications adviser Garry Gupton said Friday that the decision to forgo the UN proclamation “rested solely with me.”
He said the governor did not see the proclamation.
Asked why the proclamation was turned down, Gupton declined to comment.
Bevin press secretary Amanda Stamper said she also had no comment about the proclamation.
Halbig, a former president of the Kentucky League of Women Voters, said she “went through all the proper channels, as usual, to get the proclamation signed.” She said she filled out an online request and talked to Bevin aides Ben Goldy and Jordan Morgan about it in September and October.
Gupton, Halbig said, called her on Oct. 5 about her proclamation request and said, “We prefer to not participate and sit this one out. We pass on this one.”
He did not elaborate, said Halbig.
Halbig said she then asked about getting a UN Human Rights Day proclamation for Dec. 10 but Gupton referred her to the online form and said “let’s just do this one at a time.”
“I didn’t try after that,” Halbig said.
Halbig noted that there are “anti-UN stances and a lot of myths versus facts.”
The United Nations, with headquarters in New York City, is made up of various countries trying to promote international cooperation. It was established in October 1945.
The UNA-USA, she said, is a membership organization “dedicated to inform, inspire, and mobilize the American people to support the ideals and vital work of the United Nations.”
She said its mission is accomplished through a national network of chapters, youth engagement, advocacy efforts, education programs and public events. It has about 400 members in Kentucky.
The Kentucky proclamation, Halbig said, would have been put in a Capitol display case near the Rotunda and noted at a UN event on the University of Louisville campus.
Halbig said she is asking the UNA-USA KY board of directors about sending a letter to Bevin asking him to consider the proclamation.