On behalf of the city of Louisville, welcome to all of you visiting for the 145th Kentucky Derby. Regardless of whether you are going for a Derby that is more decadent, or more depraved, you will find some of the nation’s best restaurants, parties, concerts and festivals. And while I hope you find a little luck at the track, you won’t need any luck finding the best bourbon in the world.
There is much to love about Louisville and Kentucky.
Our governor is not one of those things…
This Saturday, join us in singing “My Old Kentucky Home,” wipe the tears away and enjoy the greatest two minutes in sports. But beware — at some point you will see Gov. Matt Bevin prancing around the track, seeking out the cameras to feed his narcissism. Feel free to join in one of our newer Kentucky traditions by booing the hell out of him!
If you’re wondering why he’s so hated in Commonwealth, here’s a quick introduction:
He attacks public school teachers.
Just last week, he blamed teachers for the shooting of a 7-year-old girl by her 11-year-old brother who had found a gun inside their home, while their uncle, their guardian, was outside. Bevin was referring to a recent “sickout” by teachers who had marched on the Capitol to protest anti-education bills, thereby closing several school systems for the day. “While we had people pretending to be sick when they weren’t sick and leaving kids unattended to, or in situations that they should not have been in, a girl was shot,” Bevin said.
I guess the new position is: “Guns don’t kill people — public school teachers walking out to protest attacks on education kill people.”
He made a similar accusation a year ago, accusing teachers of contributing to hypothetical child sex abuse because they had walked out to protest:
“I guarantee you, somewhere in Kentucky today, a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them.”
Another reason to dislike Bevin: He prefers chickenpox parties to vaccinations. Instead of having a doctor vaccinate his nine kids against chickenpox, he decided to host chickenpox sleepovers — a party where they can exchange their chickenpox… Party!
Meanwhile, he parrots how broke our state is, but he has continuously taken illegal actions and pressed legislation, which the courts strike down as unconstitutional — all while spending our tax dollars. The losses became so regular this year that he had the state legislature introduce a bill so that lawsuits filed against his administration would be kept away from one of the judges who kept ruling against him.
He called for a special legislative session to tackle pension reform, at the cost of $65,000 a day, but he failed to alert lawmakers ahead of time or provide a plan. Even though his party controls the legislature, lawmakers were so upset that they quickly adjourned the session without taking any action. And despite all his big talk, Bevin has never contributed a workable proposal for pension reform.
He is accused of buying his current residence for a significantly below market price from a business associate and ally whom he had appointed to a powerful state board. Ultimately, Bevin appealed to the Kentucky Claims Commission, a panel made up of three members he had appointed, including a donor to his 2015 campaign.
He was behind a state law that allowed him to hire an Army buddy at such a high salary that he is now the highest-paid chief technology officer in the country.
His leadership on preventing gun violence was to call for prayer circles on street corners in the neighborhoods with the largest black populations.
He was shocked to discover that black boys and girls have chess clubs.
He is notoriously thin-skinned… he’s probably already blocked you on Twitter.
He doesn’t talk to the news media, unless they are religiously affiliated or running public relations on his behalf. He is hostile to veteran reporters. He called Courier Journal reporter Tom Loftus, a member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, “peeping Tom.”
Then, there are his countless social media selfies (like a teenager with their first camera phone).
One last thing: I’ve been at sporting events that Bevin also attended, and whenever his face went on the JumboTron, he received a chorus of boos. I’m talking about UofL and UK fans joining, if for just a moment, on the same team to boo him in unison. So please, join us in this new Kentucky tradition, and boo this man.
He deserves it.