KET studios host gubernatorial debate



By Chase Sanders

The gubernatorial debate Monday night was one candidate short of being a complete look into each candidate’s opinions on education in the state.

Gov. Steve Beshear and his campaign did not to show up to the discussion.

Each of the governor hopefuls started off the debate, which took place in Lexington’s KET studios, by saying Kentucky needs to be more efficient with its education spending.

Gatewood Galbraith said that “2 million dollars goes to pay out-of-state parties, and half of that can be used to fund education.”

David Williams, State Senate President, believes there is a more specific source of problem for educational spending.

“There is a lot of inefficient spending in the state department of education,” Williams said.

He used Jefferson County as an example. He said that the school district spends “more than any other in the state and has a far lower graduation percentage than most districts in the state.”

The candidates also discussed how important it is that Kentucky makes progress in education at every level.

“I am very passionate about education,” Williams said. “I know what it’s done for me and people around me.”

Galbraith voiced his impatience with the current administration’s outlook on education.

“The current dysfunctional state of the governor in the capital will not be effective for the state,” he said. “We need significant gains, not just incremental ones.”

Neither of the participating candidates is in support of federal government money that is offered nationwide for state education funding.

Williams said that “federal funds have strings attached,” and Galbraith agreed that “federal funds are heavy-handed.”

However, both agreed with President Barack Obama’s stance that something needs to be done about teachers effectively teaching students and school infrasturcture.

In interviews with the Kernel after the debate, Galbraith and Williams also acknowledged issues facing college students.

The graduating seniors will be in search of jobs, and they want to do what they can to keep them and their talents in the Commonwealth.

“That’s why I’m very interested in the tax structure of the state,” Williams said. “If you’ve taken the time to go to school and work harder over time then you should be able to keep that money.”

Galbraith believes wages and tax incentives are the key to bringing new business to the state, which he thinks will keep students close to home.

“We need to get jobs from emerging industries into the state, because if we don’t have the employment base we won’t have jobs for graduates,” he said.

Galbraith also said he wants “to distribute a $5,000 voucher to every college student strictly for the use of educational purposes.”

One agreement that the two candidates  were quick to point out was that they want to “put a freeze on tuition” for colleges and universities in Kentucky.