Looking forward with Governor-Elect Matt Bevin’s proposed policies



By Cheyene Miller

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The 2015 Kentucky gubernatorial election is in the books, and with Republican Matt Bevin’s victory, the state’s education, pension and health care systems are all subject to change.

For only the second time in 40 years, a Republican will reside in the governor’s mansion as Bevin defeated Democratic candidate Jack Conway, Kentucky’s attorney general on Tuesday.

Conway was arguably the favorite for most of the campaign season, polling ahead of Bevin by about five percentage points in all of the Bluegrass Polls. But Election Day turned out to be a different story, as Bevin took the governor’s seat with 52.5 percent of the votes compared to 43.8 percent for Conway. Independent candidate Drew Curtis received 3.7 percent of the votes.

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Bevin’s victory comes more than a year after his loss to Sen. Mitch McConnell in last year’s Republican primary for the Senate race. During this campaign season he touted his experience as a businessman capable of creating jobs and improving Kentucky’s economy.

His running mate, Jenean Hampton, a businesswoman from Detroit, will become the first black woman to hold statewide office in Kentucky history.

Now that he is the governor-elect, only time will tell if Bevin keeps the promises he made regarding the economy and other issues frequently discussed in the race.

Bevin posited restructuring the state’s tax code and making Kentucky a right-to-work state to attract news businesses, and has spoken against raising the minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour.

He originally said he would reverse the Medicaid expansion, but later backtracked and said he would seek a federal waiver to receive Medicaid funding in a grant. He also proposed restructuring Kentucky’s health care system to resemble Indiana’s in which Medicaid beneficiaries pay higher premiums for better benefits.

“We can’t afford the current structure as it exists,” Bevin said in September.

Bevin has also spoken against increasing funding for higher education and has advocated “outcomes based funding” by incentivizing students to earn degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.

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“If you are going to ask for taxpayer money to subsidize that education … then it should be used for things that are going to be to the best benefit of the taxpayers themselves,” he said to reporters after the EKU debate.

During the EKU debate Bevin advocated for legalizing medical marijuana in Kentucky because he said research shows it can alleviate patients with disorders like epilepsy.

“I would in fact sign such legislation into law,” Bevin said of a potential bill legalizing medical marijuana.

Bevin will replace term-limited Gov. Steve Beshear. Bevin has promised to dismantle Kynect, the state’s online health insurance market and one of Beshear’s signature achievements as governor.