Gov. Matt Bevin vowed this week that he and other Republican leaders will not use the “rope” that Kentucky voters gave them on Nov. 8 to “hang ourselves.”
With Republicans in control of Kentucky’s governor’s office, Senate and House, some people “believe we’ve been given enough rope to hang ourselves,” Bevin said in an interview this week with Kentucky Today, a publication of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
“There is the intent on my part and others, that that’s exactly what we won’t do,” Bevin said. “We will use that rope to build bridges and do constructive things, and do the types of things that, frankly, Kentucky needs, that states around us have been doing, and that we’ll now start doing.”
Bevin, who was sworn in last Dec. 8 as Kentucky’s 62nd governor and the state’s third GOP governor since World War II, is reviewing this week his first year in office and speculating on what the future will bring.
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He ignored the Lexington Herald-Leader’s request for a one-on-one interview but talked Monday for about 30 minutes with Kentucky Today. He has scheduled a news conference Friday morning in Louisville with all media to review his first year as governor and talk about 2017.
Bevin told Kentucky Today that he thinks Kentuckians gave Republicans a mandate to make changes when they elected 64 GOP lawmakers to the 100-member state House, giving the party control of the chamber for the first time since 1921.
“And the people of Kentucky have boldly spoken, turning out 17 incumbents, some of whom had been there four decades, and just saying ‘enough already, we want to go in a different direction,’” Bevin said. “So, I’m delighted. I think we’ve been given the authority and the expectation to do something powerful.”
Bevin said he expects tax reform will come in a special legislative session during 2017. He said he thinks it’s possible to lower the overall tax burden in the state and increase revenue for the state at the same time, but offered few specifics.
“I’d like to see us move broadly from more of a production-based tax economy, which is what we are right now, to more of a consumption-based tax economy,” he said.
He predicted the legislature also will approve several other economic-related measures, including: repeal of the state’s prevailing wage laws, which generally sets higher wage rates for public works projects; and implementing a so-called “right-to-work” law, which would allow employees to work at companies with a union without paying union dues;
On social issues, Bevin said he thinks the legislature will approve an anti-abortion bill that requires doctors to present the results of an ultrasound to women seeking an abortion.
“I’m fairly confident that it will pass, and I would be delighted to sign such legislation,” Bevin told Kentucky Today.
Not all agree with Bevin’s praise for his first year.
The Kentucky Democratic Party this week issued a report card for Bevin’s first year, giving him an “F” for creating jobs, protecting education and promoting health and wellness, said spokesman Daniel Lowry.