Democratic candidates for governor debate days before KY primary

Democratic governor candidates debate

LEXINGTON, KY (WAVE) - In just eight days, Kentucky voters will head to the polls for the primary election. Democratic candidates for Governor battled for votes in a KET debate Monday.

Candidates Rocky Adkins, Andy Beshear and Adam Edelen took questions. Then, their running mates did the same. Geoff Young will be on the ballot as well, but did not appear in the segment.

While Gov. Matt Bevin is running among others on the Republican ticket, and wasn’t part of the program, those Democrats hoping to take his job took shots at him.

Beshear answered a number of questions by touting his record as Attorney General, saying he’s electable in the general election because he’s beaten Bevin in the courtroom before.

“When he tried to illegally cut the budgets of our universities and community colleges, I stopped him,” Beshear said. “We returned over $18 million where it belonged. When he tried to illegally cut the retirements of 200,000 public servants, I took him to the Supreme Court and beat him 7-0.”

Edelen positioned himself as focusing on the future rather than taking on Bevin.

“Lawsuits are not going to save the availability of a higher education to the working class,” Edelen said. “It’s leadership.”

During that statement, Beshear responded by saying the lawsuit saved billions of dollars for the state, and asked Edelen if he would have filed it.

"Certainly, Andy, and you're a great lawyer, I don't think anybody disputes that, but we've got to have a governor that builds a modern system of higher education," Edelen said.

Edelen said investments in renewable energy also will be a part of his focus.

For Rocky Adkins, a moderate approach is something he said will allow him to connect with rural Kentucky. He added that his experience in the state legislature lends him the insight of what policies can survive in the republican held super-majority House and Senate.

"I bring that experience, that proven leadership of debating this governor for the last three and a half years, toe-to-toe, on the ground everyday on his bad agenda that's been brought forward in Frankfort Kentucky, whether its been public education, working families or a bad agenda on public healthcare," Adkins said.

The candidates spoke for about an hour on a number of topics. One thing they all agreed upon is that tax reform is needed as the pension crisis continues.

The KET website states a debate between the Republican candidates was canceled, and won’t be rescheduled.

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