Politics & Government

‘Knock ‘em out.’ Bevin compares Kentucky pension law opponents to ‘drowning victims.’

Gov. Matt Bevin spoke during the Federal Commission on School Safety at the the Council of State Governments building in Lexington in June.
Gov. Matt Bevin spoke during the Federal Commission on School Safety at the the Council of State Governments building in Lexington in June.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin compared opponents of his efforts to overhaul Kentucky’s ailing pension systems to “drowning victims” in an interview with a Cincinnati radio station Tuesday.

Appearing on the Brian Thomas Morning Show on 55KRC, Bevin said it’s difficult to stabilize the pension system when those affected by the pension overhaul bill he signed into law earlier this year are fighting him.

“I’m being fought, in some instances, by the very people that we’re trying to save,” he said. “It’s like saving a drowning victim. It’s like somebody ... they’re fighting you, fighting you and pulling you under. You just need to knock ‘em out and drag ‘em to shore. It’s for their own good, and we have to save this system.”

Thomas responded: “It’s tough medicine, but to save the system, tough medicine has to be swallowed or it will be that much worse.”

The pension bill has since been ruled unconstitutional by Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd, a ruling Bevin has appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Ben Self responded to Bevin’s comments, saying the Republican governor “just can’t help himself. Every time he opens his mouth it’s a disaster.”

“He has no respect for the people of this state, especially teachers. He’s arrogant and talks down to hardworking Kentuckians,” Self said. “It is offensive for Governor Bevin to suggest that teachers, police officers, and public employees can’t think for themselves or make informed decisions about their own future. Matt Bevin’s sustained, consistent attacks on his own constituents is an embarrassment to the state. Kentuckians deserve better than this.”

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear, a Democrat who is running for Governor in the 2019 race, called Bevin’s comments offensive in his own statement.

“Our public servants aren’t drowning victims, they are hardworking men and women who help our families every day. It’s time to restore decency in Frankfort.”

Bevin’s remarks were just the latest in a string of controversial comments he has made about opponents to the pension law.

In March, he accused opponents of displaying a “thug mentality.” The next month, he guaranteed a child was sexually assaulted because schools closed so that teachers could protest in Frankfort.

  Comments