EDITORIAL: Overly wins debate with governmental experience

Superior confidence and political experience allowed Democrat Sannie Overly to win the Lieutenant Governor’s debate on campus Tuesday night.

Overly, the running mate of Jack Conway, used her knowledge of legislation and government work groups to answer questions about the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the pay gap between men and women, among other questions. Overly is the only Lieutenant Governor candidate who is a state representative.

Jenean Hampton, Republican and running mate of Matt Bevin, referred more to business experience than knowledge of government.

Heather Curtis, wife and running mate of Independent Drew Curtis, gave fresh answers to questions about poverty and the pay gap, but was soft spoken amid tough questions.

Like the Governor’s debate in September, the Republican and Democratic candidates spent time criticizing each other rather than answering questions about their policies.

Curtis, in her closing statement, was the only candidate to speak solely about her platform.

Hampton, along with the expected mudslinging, relied on the idea of bringing business to Kentucky for too many issues. When asked about the state’s backlog of untested rape kits, Hampton said the backlog underscores the need to bring business to Kentucky.

There are ways to tie every statewide problem to business, but the answer to untested rape kits must be more specific than bringing businesses to Kentucky.

Overly, on the other hand, let her governmental experience shine through with the rape kit question. Overly said the audit that uncovered the backlog of rape kits gives recommendations to solve the problem, like requiring that kits be tested within a certain time period.

Curtis also suggested a time limit, but Overly was the only candidate to reference the audit.

On issues of poverty and opportunity, Hampton took a lead by using her youth in the Detroit’s west side to bring personal experience to the table. While Overly and Curtis brought more interesting answers to questions of poverty, it’s hard to beat a first-hand account.

But Overly ended up on top, especially after explaining a plan to increase the minimum wage. Hampton opposed raising the wage completely, and Curtis suggested raising the wage but exempting small businesses.

Through her knowledge of how other states raise the minimum wage, Overly suggested a three year plan that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour gradually, enough to let businesses adjust.

Overly’s experience and knowledge of government is irreplaceable when debating how to run a state that is struggling to provide for its citizens.

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