Gov. Bevin: pension reform opponents are like "drowning victims"

08/14/2018 12:38 PM

CINCINNATI- Gov. Matt Bevin, R-Kentucky, says pension reform opponents are like “drowning victims.”

Bevin made the comparison while appearing on 55KRC’s Brian Thomas show, a conservative talk radio station, when asked about the opposition from public employees to the pension reform bill.

“And yet I’m being fought, in some instances, by the very people we’re trying to save. It’s like saving a drowning victim,” Bevin told host Brian Thomas. “It’s like somebody, they’re fighting, they’re fighting and they are pulling you under. You just need to knock them out and drag them to shore. It’s for their own good.”

The Kentucky Democratic Party quickly pushed back against Bevin’s comments.

“Governor Bevin just can’t help himself. Every time he opens his mouth it’s a disaster.” KDP Chair Ben Self said in a statement. “He has no respect for the people of this state, especially teachers. He’s arrogant and talks down to hardworking Kentuckians. It is offensive for Governor Bevin to suggest that teachers, police officers, and public employees can’t think for themselves or make informed decisions about their own future.

Attorney General Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky, who brought the case against the administration and is also running for governor in 2019, released a statement on social media decrying the governor.

“Gov. Bevin’s comments are offensive. Our public servants aren’t drowning victims, they are hardworking men and women who help our families every day. It’s time to restore decency in Frankfort,” Beshear tweeted.

The Kentucky Government Retirees, an advocacy group which represents nearly 15,000 KRS retirees and current employees, released a statement condeming the governor for his language.

“We are aghast that Gov. Matt Bevin has once again used violent imagery to describe stakeholders affected by the passage of Senate Bill 151. His declaration that stakeholders may need to be “knocked out” to be “saved” is not only inappropriate, it is demonstrably inaccurate. Senate Bill 151 is shown by actuaries to produce no significant actuarial savings. It is fatuous nonsense to assert that it “rescues” KRS from insolvency. We know better, and Gov. Matt Bevin should know better.” a statement from Jim Carroll, president of the group read.

Gov. Bevin also attacked Franklin Circuit Clerk Judge Phillip Shepherd, who ruled Senate Bill 151 unconstitutional in June. Once again calling him “ a hack “.

“One judge who is a hack in Kentucky and Franklin Circuit Court is disagreeing but he disagrees with everything that is political,” Bevin said. “The guy is a former political appointee in a prior governor’s association. This guy is not a guy who follows the law.”

The Bevin Administration filed an appeal to Shepherd’s ruling on Friday, requesting the case go straight to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Arguments will be heard September 20.

Michon Lindstrom

Michon is a producer for Pure Politics. Michon comes to Kentucky from Springfield, Illinois where she served as the statehouse reporter for the NBC affiliate. During her time in the Land of Lincoln she covered the state’s two year budget impasse and the largest school funding overall in Illinois history. Pure Politics airs weeknights at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Michon on Twitter at @MichonLindstrom or reach her by email at


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