With just a few weeks left before the elections that will decide the control of the Kentucky State House, Speaker Greg Stumbo doesn’t want you to know the truth.
He doesn’t want you to know Gov. Matt Bevin kept the promises he made to voters by passing the most fiscally responsible budget in decades, including devoting a record $1.2 billion to protect the pensions of teachers and state workers.
He doesn’t want you to know Kentucky has invested historic amounts in education and workforce development, or that Kentucky has an innovative plan to improve health outcomes, keep Medicaid financially sustainable and tackle our growing opioid epidemic.
He doesn’t want you to know Bevin is cutting mountains of red tape, making it easier in Kentucky for employers to create jobs.
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Stumbo also doesn’t want you to know he intentionally kept taxpayers in the dark by killing transparency bills, or that he and his fellow House Democrats support Hillary Clinton for president even after she said the push for renewable energy would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of work.”
And he certainly doesn’t want you to know about all the recent Democratic scandals, including Attorney General Andy Beshear’s deputy going to federal prison for bribery.
Or, Democratic Rep. John Short’s refusal to answer questions about his alleged involvement in a vote-buying scheme. Or, a well-respected former employee claiming Beshear politicizes legal opinions. Or, unanswered questions about missing money from a fund intended for law-enforcement officers.
The list goes on and on.
Stumbo doesn’t want you to know the truth because he knows House Democrats will lose if voters are actually informed.
So instead of running on policy issues, he is doing what he has perfected over his nearly 40-year political career: orchestrating a smoke screen of lies and misinformation in an attempt to distract voters.
Stumbo’s latest political “Hail Mary” is to create a panel to investigate made-up claims that Bevin threatened a handful of House Democrats. These claims are false. Even Stumbo, in a voicemail made public, said the truth is “probably not as bad as maybe it was portrayed.”
The main player in this poorly scripted political fiction is Central Kentucky Rep. Russ Meyer. Meyer falsely claims Bevin delayed the Brannon Road project in his district for political reasons.
Here is the truth: I personally met with Meyer on several occasions late last year. He initially wanted to resign his seat and take a job in the Bevin administration. Meyer then wanted to discuss switching to the Republican Party.
In reality, he was worried about losing his seat and had lost confidence in Stumbo’s ability to lead. He ultimately decided not to switch when it was made crystal clear that the governor was not offering him anything to do so.
I was surprised when Meyer made the poor decision to go public with his baseless allegation. Meyer and I agreed to keep all our conversations last year confidential. He also never discussed the Brannon Road project with anyone in the Bevin administration, including me.
The Courier-Journal reported on the legitimate reasons for the delay in the project. Career, non-political Transportation Cabinet lawyers have stated the contract should never have been approved in the last days of the Steve Beshear administration. Because of multiple right-of-way and utilities issues, it was impossible to begin construction by the contract’s deadline. That is why the project was delayed.
This made-up story from Stumbo and Meyer is about one thing: politics. Career politicians like them are willing to do and say anything to keep their seats.
The people of Kentucky are tired of Democratic politicians like Meyer who talk like conservatives in their home districts, but vote in Frankfort for all the liberal, job-killing policies pushed by those who fund their campaigns.
Stumbo and Meyer don’t want you to know the truth about that either.
Blake Brickman is chief of staff for Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.
At issue: Oct. 5 Herald-Leader article, “Stumbo launches panel to investigate claims against Bevin”