Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin spoke at a Republican presidential forum in New Hampshire Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours after declaring a state of emergency and activating the Kentucky National Guard to help residents stranded by a massive snowstorm.
Bevin, who grew up in the Granite State, was the guest speaker at a Saturday luncheon during the New Hampshire GOP’s First-in-the-Nation town hall in Nashua, N.H.
Boston Globe reporter James Pindell posted a picture on Instagram of Bevin speaking at the luncheon, which cost $65 to attend, according to the event’s website.
Bevin’s decision to attend the event has raised questions about whether he holds national political ambitions despite having been governor less than two months, but a spokeswoman for Bevin suggested Saturday that Bevin was in New Hampshire on official state business.
“This morning when the storm had passed and roads were opened he decided to honor his commitments, which involve meetings with prospective companies keenly interested in moving jobs to Kentucky,” spokeswoman Jessica Ditto said in a statement.
Earlier Saturday, the governor posted pictures of himself on Twitter in front of a salt truck and alongside state highway workers.
“Our @KYTC @kystatepolice @Kentucky_Guard teams have been working all night on roads...still icy...pls be careful,” Bevin said on Twitter.
Ditto said the governor “has been directly involved in the management of this snow storm” and worked “late into the night” Friday with emergency management officials.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie canceled his speech at the same event in New Hampshire, returning to his state as winter storm Jonas hit the East Coast.
Many parts of Kentucky got more than a foot of snow, stranding thousands of motorists overnight on Interstate 75 and leaving thousands without power.
Much of the Republican presidential field, including U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Bowling Green, spoke at the two-day forum.
Despite meager polling numbers, Paul told the crowd that he was going to “rock and roll to victory.”