Democracy depends on educated votes, part 2
David Nevins is co-publisher of The Fulcrum and co-founder and board chairman of the Bridge Alliance Education Fund.
Democracy depends on educated voters. Yet too often people often don’t vote because they don’t know where candidates stand on various issues and are confused about how to find out. The widespread political cynicism, disinformation, and spin that citizens are bombarded with contributes to the lack of information available to voters so they can make reasoned decisions.
To combat this problem a non-partisan group called guides.vote has created voter guides to provide a concise and credible way to compare where candidates stand on critical issues and to make clear why voting matters.
Yesterday, we focused on the Virginia legislature. Today, we focus on the Kentucky Governor's race between incumbent Democrat, Andy Beshear and Republican, Daniel Cameron.
Ban or legal?
Legal. Gave approval to Planned Parenthood abortion services in Louisville. Vetoed legislation giving Attorney General Cameron the authority to regulate abortion providers during COVID. Sees “born alive” abortion legislation as preventing “something that never happens.”
Ban. “Is an advocate for the unborn and continues to defend Kentucky’s pro-life laws in court.” Supported the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. During the primary, supported current state law barring abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest. Now says he would sign if the legislature passed those exceptions.
Mixed. “I believe climate change is real, I believe that it is causing more severe weather.” His 2021 energy plan calls for increased investment in renewable and sustainable fuels and would “assess climate risk.” However, fossil fuels are “always going to be a part of our energy portfolio, at least in the coming decades;” would “find ways that we can burn them more cleanly.” Signed a bill requiring the state to divest from banks that are boycotting fossil fuel investments.
No. As Attorney General opposed an EPA proposal to curb greenhouse gas emissions and a federal rule to cut on-road carbon emissions. Filed a suit opposing a Biden order canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline. Opposes investment of Kentucky public pensions in banks that follow climate standards. “Will always support the needs of Kentucky over green energy priorities that will devastate our coal industry.”
Yes. Declared a state of emergency, closing all but “life-sustaining businesses,” requiring social distancing and suspending evictions. Commuted the sentences of inmates serving sentences for “non-violent and non-sexual offenses” to “prevent the spread of COVID.” Restricted “mass gatherings,” including church services. Ordered universal masking in schools. “When it came to COVID, it was about life versus death.”
No. Filed a challenge to Biden vaccine mandates. Joined a suit against Governor Beshear’s order closing schools to limit COVID spread. Urged the end of universal masking in Jefferson County schools. Challenged the emergency powers used by Governor Beshear to issue COVID-19 executive orders as “government overreach.”
How to ensure effectiveness and fairness in law enforcement?
Opposed the Kentucky grand jury decision to not charge officers in the shooting of Breonna Taylor. Signed a bill limiting the use of “no-knock” police raids to cases involving violent crime. Signed a bill ending the practice of automatically trying juveniles in adult court in gun-related crimes. Signed a major pay raise for state troopers, with funding for body cameras and increased training.
“Victims – not criminals – get our priority.” Endorsed the grand jury decision to not charge officers in the shooting of Breonna Taylor. Opposed waiving for indigent people the fees required to expunge a criminal record. Proposes police bonuses, tougher penalties against drug traffickers, and a required death penalty for anyone convicted of murdering a police officer.
No. “I believe charter schools overall are unconstitutional.” “You can't starve public schools of the dollars that they need… and then give their dollars to corporations…. Public dollars have to be going into public schools.”
Yes. “You can make sure we have a strong public education system, but we can also expand choice.” As Attorney General, appealed a court ruling that struck down a school choice program approved by lawmakers. Was “saddened” that the Kentucky Supreme Court upheld that ruling.
How to address the teaching of issues around racism and gender identity?
“Systematic racism exists in this world, in this country and in our commonwealth.” Vetoed an anti-critical race theory bill that tried “to police classroom discussions on topics such as race,” which “our children are having with or without adults in our schools.” Allowed a bill to become law without his signature that gives any parent a way to challenge instructional materials that parents deem “harmful” to children. Vetoed a bill banning school lessons about gender identity.
Opposed federal grant programs funding “the usage of Critical Race Theory…and ‘1619 Project’ in classrooms.” Would prevent “any curriculum or policy that encourages the teaching of woke ideologies” in public schools. Would “refuse to allow our students to be indoctrinated.” Supported a bill banning lessons about gender identity.
Increase funding for K-12 education?
Yes. In 2019 proposed a $2,000 pay raise for Kentucky’s public school teachers. Has sought a 5% raise for teachers. Wants “universal preschool for all 4-year-olds and full-day kindergarten for every Kentucky child.”
Yes. “Will propose legislation that raises the starting pay for teachers” and “a bill giving a stipend to every teacher in Kentucky to help offset the personal expenses they incur purchasing school supplies.”
Roll back or increase restrictive gun regulation?
Increase. Supports a “red flag” law, allowing a judge to temporarily remove guns from someone deemed a threat. Wants “conversations” with all sides about moving forward with red flag legislation and giving cities and towns more rights to pass gun legislation.
Roll back. “Continues to push back against government overreach that threatens the Second Amendment.” As Attorney General opposed gun control laws in New York, Hawaii, and California. Would address gun violence with “strong mental health processes,” rather than infringement “upon our Second Amendment rights.”
Support a work requirement for obtaining Medicaid?
Easier. Opposes Kentucky’s “right to work” law, which allows employees in a unionized workplace to not pay union dues.
Harder. Supports Kentucky’s “right to work” law.
Expand. Vetoed a bill banning gender-affirming health care for minors; it would “lead to an increase in teen suicides in Kentucky.” Was the first sitting Kentucky governor to attend the state gay-rights rally.
Limit. Supports a bill banning gender transition care for minors; “will protect our youth from dangerous ideologies.” Supports allowing private adoption agencies to reject LGBTQ foster and adoptive parents because of religious beliefs.
Ban or legal?
Legal. Signed an order allowing possession and out-of-state purchase of medical marijuana, then signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana. No position found on recreational.
Unclear. Maintained that the Governor’s medical marijuana order had no legal authority. Was against legalizing medical in 2019; later said would sign medical legalization if there’s “a framework that is responsible.”
Yes. Supports raising the state minimum wage to $15 per hour incrementally.
No position found.
STUDENT FINANCIAL AID
Support lower interest on student loans or forgiving them?
No position found
How to handle state taxation?
Issued an order freezing vehicle property taxes and then signed legislation doing the same. Froze the gas tax rate through an emergency regulation. Signed a Republican-backed individual income tax cut.
Tighten or ease voting rules?
Ease. Signed an order restoring voting rights to nonviolent ex-felons who have completed their sentences. Signed a bipartisan bill expanding early voting, creating online absentee ballot portals, and requiring drop boxes.