AG Beshear announces Governor candidacy, promises to restore funding to higher education


Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear announces his Governor candidacy with his running mate Jacqueline Coleman (right of Beshear) from the rooftop of Dudley’s on Short. July 9, 2018. Rick Childress | Staff

Sydney Momeyer

Dudley’s rooftop patio was reserved for a bit more than the culinary arts Wednesday.

Andy Beshear, Kentucky’s acting attorney general, announced his candidacy to run under the Democratic ticket for Kentucky’s Governor in the 2019 election from Dudley’s rooftop patio on Short Street.

Along with the announcement of his candidacy, Beshear, a Democrat, promised to restore funding to higher education if he were elected governor.

As of last year, current Gov. Matt Bevin has proposed a great deal of cuts for higher education funding. Bevin had originally proposed a 6.25 percent base reduction to all Kentucky postsecondary schools. 

This reduction would have meant a $16.1 million reduction to UK’s budget alone, along with a $54.3 million reduction to Kentucky’s higher education instructions. The Kentucky legislature was able to restore $31 million of the proposed reduction, still meaning that $23.3 million was cut from higher education.

“Every single Kentuckian should have the opportunity to go to one of our public universities,” Beshear said. “Right now, with the cuts, budget after budget, some because of our Great Recession, we are one of the only states to cut higher ed coming out of that recession.”

Beshear feels that the current cuts are taking away from opportunities for Kentucky students to pursue a higher education.

“That is not slowly, but very quickly, pricing so many of our students out of the opportunity to get that higher education,” Beshear said. “Every Kentucky child that works hard in K-12 and wants that college education should be able to get it.”

His running mate, Jacqueline Coleman, is currently assistant principle at Nelson County High School as she runs for Lt. Governor along with Beshear and pursues a doctoral degree in educational leadership from UK

Coleman also plans to push to restore funding for education in Kentucky.

“Every year, we ask higher ed, secondary and primary ed to do more with less,” Coleman said. “So, what that says is that we don’t value what teachers are trying to do every day. That is exactly the opposite of how Andy and I feel. We should absolutely value the work that teachers and educators do, and we should value that investment in our students.”

Beshear, who is the first Democrat to announce his candidacy, has been Kentucky’s acting attorney general since 2016. He graduated from Henry Clay High School, Vanderbilt University and the University of Virginia School of Law.

Beshear has been heavily involved in UK’s lawsuit against the Kernel over an open records dispute involving a 2016 investigation of a UK professor accused of sexual misconduct.