I believe in a Kentucky where we fully fund every public school and make sure every child has a shot at the American dream—regardless of zip code or family income. It’s a disgrace that some of our kids read from ten-year-old text books held together with duct tape. I’m proud to be the only candidate with an active educator on the ticket in Jacqueline Coleman. Strong public schools will help us attract companies who want to invest in Kentucky and allow our children to pursue their dreams without having to move away.
Health care is a basic human right. All Kentuckians, no matter where they live or how much they earn, deserve access to affordable health care. I’m currently fighting against a federal court ruling which would eliminate mandatory coverage for pre-existing conditions and could eliminate health coverage for 1.3 million Kentuckians — costing Kentucky in both money and lives. Also, on my first day as governor, I will halt Governor Bevin’s effort to throw thousands of families off the Medicaid program.
Under Matt Bevin, Kentucky is near the bottom in the nation for job and wage growth. I will work every day to bring good-paying jobs that enable our hardworking men and women to raise their families. My vision for growing our economy doesn’t depend on massive give-aways for wealthy out-of-state CEOs like we’ve seen from Matt Bevin. We should be investing in our workforce and focusing on the areas in which Kentucky is uniquely positioned to lead, like agritech, automation, data analytics and healthcare.
We’ve made a promise to our teachers, police officers, firefighters and other public employees that they’ll be able to retire with dignity, and under my watch, Kentucky will keep that promise. When this governor tried to slash pensions, I went to the Supreme Court and personally argued for the promised pensions of more than 200,000 teachers, police officers, firefighters, EMS, social workers and nearly all city and county employees in Kentucky. Our public servants go to work everyday to keep our communities safe, educate tomorrow’s leaders—our children—or put themselves in harm’s way. The least we can do is protect the promised pension benefits they have paid into during their years of service.
Honesty and Openness
I believe that all candidates for governor and lieutenant governor must embrace full transparency. That’s why I became the first sitting Kentucky attorney general to release my taxes outside of an election year. I have released my tax returns for three straight years— including my 2018 returns in February—and Jacqueline has released her 2017 and 2018 returns. As governor, I will fight corruption in state government by requiring all statewide officeholders to release their tax returns, banning state contractors from giving gifts to public officials and instituting term limits for state legislators.
For far too many Kentuckians, a college education is financially out of reach. And crushing student loans are burying many of those who do go to college under a mountain of debt. As attorney general, I’ve fought against unscrupulous for-profit colleges and secured over $5 million in restitution or debt relief for Kentucky students. And I stopped Matt Bevin when he tried to illegally cut the budgets of our universities and community colleges. As governor, I’ll fight to lower the costs of attending Kentucky’s public universities and community and technical colleges.
Criminal Justice Reform
In my first week as governor, I’ll sign an executive order that automatically restores voting rights for Kentuckians with felony convictions who have completed their sentences. I’m also committed to rooting out the bias and discrimination that exists in our criminal justice system, which leads to disproportionately high incarceration rates for people of color. I will continue to work to ensure that people suffering from addiction are sent to treatment instead of jail, while ensuring that drug traffickers receive appropriate punishment.
Diversity and Inclusiveness
I believe that our state government works best when people with a wide range of voices and backgrounds have a seat at the table. I’m proud to lead an AG’s office in which more than 60% of the leadership positions are held by women or people of color. As governor, my office and my cabinet will reflect the growing diversity of our great state.
Climate change is real, and Kentucky needs an all-the-above energy policy that includes renewables and clean-coal technology. At the same time, one of the biggest challenges our Kentucky families face, especially in the eastern part of the state, is that their energy bills go up year after year, while good jobs are hard to find and wages remain flat. Kentucky families shouldn’t have to choose between putting food on the table and paying their utility bills. Unfortunately, that’s a decision many families have to make. As attorney general over the last three years, my office has opposed dozens of utility bill hikes, and has helped save Kentucky families nearly $1.2 billion.
It’s wrong and absurd that women in Kentucky make significantly less than men for doing the same job. As the father of both a son and a daughter, this is personal for me. Kentuckians should not be paid different amounts just because of their sex. This is common sense and as governor I’ll work to eliminate this pay gap.
Kentucky can’t afford to fall behind our neighboring states who are moving forward with the rest of the country on expanded gaming. We lose out on hundreds of millions of dollars a year. As governor, I will work to legalize sports betting, casinos, fantasy sports and prepare for online poker, and use the revenue from these activities as a dedicated funding stream for our public pension system.
We must prepare our workforce for the 21st century in jobs well-suited for Kentucky in fields like agritech, automation, data analytics and healthcare; we can build an economy and workforce for the future. In a global economy, it’s vitally important that skills training continue after high school. As governor, I’ll promote apprenticeship training and work to ensure that Kentuckians can afford community college, technical school or college. In order to attract businesses to our state, we need an educated and highly-trained workforce.
I oppose so-called Right-To-Work (for less) laws that undermine workers’ rights, and every year as governor, I will support a bill to repeal this law and reinstate the prevailing wage law. Right-To-Work (for less) results in lower wages and fewer benefits for working families. Unlike this governor, who is dismissive of the struggles facing working families, I understand that our economy is stronger when working families make a truly living wage. As governor, my labor secretary will be a card-carrying union member.
I support the right of all Kentuckians to marry the person they love. Discrimination is wrong and it’s time to turn the page on a governor who seeks to divide us and demean those he disagrees with.
I support placing medical marijuana legalization on the ballot as a constitutional amendment and would vote in its favor. I would vote for it because I’ve seen the impact opioids have had on every Kentucky community. So many Kentucky families have seen a loved one fall into addiction, and their lives have been devastated. If medical marijuana is an alternative and gives people the chance to get pain relief without being subjected to opioids, I think it’s something we’ve got to explore.
I support the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v Wade. Women should be able to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions without interference from the government. I’ve repeatedly stood up to the legislature when they’ve tried to unconstitutionally undermine women’s rights, and I’ll continue to stand with Kentucky’s women as governor.
We lose 30 Kentuckians a week to the drug epidemic. Our state has been devastated by this crisis. I’m the most aggressive attorney general in the nation fighting opioid manufacturers and distributors in court. I’ve kept all nine lawsuits in Kentucky, because these companies should have to show up in the communities they’ve ravaged and explain themselves. So far, we’ve directed $9.5 million in settlements to 16 treatment centers and programs across the state. This is a fight I will continue every single day as governor.
I believe that our democracy is strongest when more Kentuckians are involved in the process. As Attorney General, I launched a voting rights unit to protect and fight for every Kentuckian’s right to vote. I also support the automatic restoration of voting rights for Kentuckians with a non-violent felony who have completed their sentences, and will sign an executive order doing so. We should implement automatic voter registration and make it easier for all voters to vote by absentee ballot.