Gov. Bevin Is Not A Good CEO For Kentucky Inc.

This is part of LEO’s expanded commentary before the Nov. 5 election. For more, click here. 

“Which one of us would you trust to run your business in your absence?”

That is the question Gov. Matt Bevin posed during a debate with challenger Andy Beshear.

After three years as governor, Bevin still doesn’t understand that being governor is not the same as being CEO, and government is nothing like a for-profit enterprise.

Even if the state were a company, Bevin is not the CEO Kentucky Inc. needs.

What kind of CEO is willing to turn down $3 billion — and jeopardize hundreds of thousands of lives — for an ideological policy?

CEO Bevin is threatening to take away healthcare from 450,000 of Kentucky Inc.’s poorest people if the courts kill his Medicaid work requirement policy. Medicaid expansion was forecasted to bring over $3 billion per year in economic activity to Kentucky Inc. in addition to keeping people healthy.

Who wants a CEO making secret stock investments with company (taxpayer) money?

In 2017, Bevin convinced the GOP-controlled legislature to vote for a $15 million “economic development” project he refused to explain until after the vote. It was to purchase stock in Braidy Industries, an aluminum plant that still is unbuilt because of a lack of funding (and now Kentucky is in business with Russians now that an oligarch has invested in Braidy).

What kind of CEO lets millions of dollars go to another company across the river?

Instead of legalizing sports betting, CEO Bevin lets gambling revenue go to The Indiana Co. and surrounding states. He has called the potential revenue “fool’s gold” and cited an imagined epidemic of suicides “occurring every night” in casinos as reason to reject the revenue.    

The same goes for medical marijuana. CEO Bevin has abdicated his fiduciary responsibility to Kentucky Inc. West Virginia legalized medical marijuana and brought in $45 million in new revenue, while Michigan estimated it would bring $63 million in its first year.

Meanwhile, CEO Bevin changed Kentucky Inc. policy (state law) to hire a college buddy as chief technology officer, now the highest-paid employee in the company… I mean, in the state. Cronyism is never good for business.

And who wants a boss like Bevin?

CEO Bevin bullies his employees, insulting public school teachers, administrators and entire school districts. He’s called teachers “selfish,” “thuggish” and “money-hungry.”

Bevin’s poor leadership throughout the pension reform process led teachers to organize “sickouts,” closing schools. Bevin blamed teachers for the imaginary sexual assault of children. “I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home,” he said. “I guarantee you somewhere today a child was physically harmed, or ingested poison, because they were home alone.” He also said the shooting of a 7-year-old girl whose school was closed was the fault of teachers.

In the end, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled the pension bill was unconstitutional, because of Bevin and the Republican Party didn’t follow the law for passing legislation.

But when he has had real chances to help children, this CEO offered only bizarre excuses instead.

After school shootings in Kentucky and Florida he blamed them on video games, music and parents over-medicating their kids.

He called our kids “soft” when schools were canceled because of the Polar Vortex.

CEO Bevin doesn’t believe vaccines are for everyone. He prefers chickenpox parties.

When deciding who you are going to vote for, Bevin suggests you ask yourself: “If you had to leave your business to one of us — for a year or two or five or ever — to run on your behalf … which one would it be?”

Bevin points to $20 billion in corporate investments made in the state as a sign of his pro-business success. This sounds great… for the companies. Corporate America is thriving, even in Kentucky. But only a delusional CEO would expect the 730,000 Kentuckians living in poverty to be excited about this “progress.”

Bevin is a lazy CEO. He doesn’t want to work with his board (the legislature), build consensus or accept facts. He believes being governor is about creating opportunities for businesses — damn the environment, screw the teachers, squeeze students for more tuition and, above all, kill the unions. At the very least, the CEO should make everyone feel welcomed and valued.

But Bevin has proven he is a bad CEO and dangerous as governor of Kentucky.

When you vote Tuesday, instead of asking, “Who would you leave your business with?” a better question is: “Who would you leave your children with?”