Bevin wrong to dismiss benefits of Head Start
Our extended family recently grew when my sister-in-law adopted a baby. Instead of starting a college fund as they have done for their other grandchildren, my in-laws are paying her way through a high-quality pre-school.
I'm paying attention to their decision.
As chair of the state House Budget Review Subcommittee for Primary/Secondary Education, I understand that a child who misses a quality pre-school experience starts public school behind his or her classmates. Achievement gaps widen between rich and poor. Investing in early childhood education is a proven way to raise educational outcomes and protect equal opportunity for all kids.
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In light of this, I am troubled to hear the Republican candidate for governor, Matt Bevin, announcing his disdain for Head Start, the early-education program which benefitted 16,000 toddlers in the commonwealth last year.
The positive impact of Head Start is clear: students start school with better language and behavioral skills than those not enrolled and are less likely to be held back when they start elementary school.
Bevin says because some benefits level off by third grade, the funding ($128 million last year) is a waste. He misinterprets the data, which actually show that kids in Head Start are better able to meet academic expectations from kindergarten on.
Today in Kentucky, more than 30,000 three- and four-year-olds attend Head Start or a state-operated pre-school program. Thanks to the Beshear administration, funding for 5,100 more children was added to the budget last year.
Yet 80,000 more of Kentucky's kids are not enrolled in any programs — a key reason why almost half of our kindergarteners are unprepared to start school.
They are the ones I will keep in mind when I vote Nov. 3 for the next governor of Kentucky.
State Rep. Kelly Flood
Pandering to Big Coal
If I were to choose one word to describe the 2015 Kentucky gubernatorial election, it would be undemocratic.
In fact, Jack Conway and Matt Bevin have already participated in a secret, out-of-state debate before an audience of wealthy coal barons in Bristol, Va., and more are supposedly scheduled.
Why is it necessary to do such shameless pandering when coal is one of the few issues on which the candidates, and any viable candidate seeking statewide office, agree?
There are important issues that are worthy of debate: ensuring access to quality health care, shoring up the state pension funds, and implementing real solutions to tackle the economic woes that plague Eastern Kentucky.
I'm cautiously admitting that I'm voting for Conway in November; he stands on the right side of the aforementioned important issues. But that doesn't mean that I'm going to look over the unnecessary pandering and lack of meaningful discourse amongst the candidates.
Company Bevin keeps
While I do not usually concern myself with whom a candidate has supported in previous elections, your article of June 24 about Matt Bevin's support of an active white supremacist for president piqued my interest, so I researched the Constitution Party.
What I found was alarming. Getting past the fake quote from Thomas Jefferson and links to the John Birch Society, I examined the platform. This party, which Bevin supported, calls Social Security an unconstitutional welfare program. Tell that to our seniors.
Further, it wants to take away our right to vote for senators and have them appointed by politicians. I do not want to lose that right. The party supports the rights of states to secede from the union, an opinion that is unpatriotic. Needless to say, I am concerned that a candidate for governor would have supported such views. Bevin has some explaining to do.
Research their positions
I don't know what information voters use to decide whom to vote for as our next governor. Useful and factual information on exactly what they pledge to do if elected is impossible to find in public statements appearing in the press or the attack ads on television and radio.
One thing is clear, the other guy has no merits whatsoever.
That said, a recent Bluegrass Poll found that 87 percent of respondents had decided who to vote for. I fall into the 13 percent undecided category. That led me to their respective websites for useful information.
Matt Bevin's site has some very useful information on seven key issues. Jack Conway's site has an 11-page "Plan for Kentucky Jobs" but no other useful information. I called Conway's office to determine if he had any other specific issues. The response was to the effect "not at present but we hope to issue one in about a week."
Moral of the story is for voters to not depend on campaign advertising or public rhetoric for useful information. Push the candidates to go on record for what they pledge to do if elected. Make your decision and, by all means, vote.
R. Paul Baumgartner
Curtis for governor
The voters in Kentucky should consider electing Drew Curtis governor in November. This independent candidate favors decriminalizing addiction and generally leaving people alone. I wish this decent man luck on Election Day.
So Rand Paul got his way to run for two offices. I'm sure he is dancing the jig with his father. I have an idea that will help all Americans when something like this happens again.
If you are running for office from the state you are supposed to represent and decide you want to run for another office, you will not receive any pay from the state. Paul is paid to represent Kentucky but is seldom here to do that.
He is more than welcome to run for president but not on my dime. He should have decided which one he wanted more.
I'd prefer that he go home and let someone who will be in the Senate to help all of Kentucky. This goes for both parties.