Wrapping up first year in office, Attorney General Beshear lists highlights

12/06/2016 09:52 AM

With year one of a four-year term coming to a close, Attorney General Andy Beshear is looking back on his accomplishments during his first stint in public office.

Calling the position of attorney general “the honor” of his lifetime, Beshear related his key moments from his first year, which he said fit into two categories — the macro and the personal.

On the macro level, Beshear said transferring $4.5 million to the Kentucky State Police Crime Lab was a highlight of his first year.

“That’s every dime that they said they needed to hire more people, train them and buy more equipment so they would never have a rape kit backlog again — that was a highlight,” he said.

A “personal highlight” for Beshear was returning a check to an Elizabethtown senior for $50,000 after she had been scammed.

“I was so excited about it, I drove the check to her myself,” he said. “I remember meeting her in front of her bank and giving her a big hug — she wanted the check — and then after we talked for a little while, after she turned around to walk into that bank and it started raining, her life was going to be OK.

“And it was not OK until we got there.”

The first batch of untested rape kits are with a third-party testing facility. Beshear said once those kits come back to Kentucky, they will likely be sent to Jefferson County, where the first kits originated.

The kits will then be run through the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System in an attempt to bring justice.

Beshear also hopes to shine a light on the larger problem of sexual assault on campus. National statistics show that one in five women will be the victim of sexual assault during their college years.

“In 12 years when I send my daughter off to college there has to be a significant and serious change,” Beshear said. “We’re involved right now in a case with the University of Kentucky about transparency of records, about how universities deal with sexual assault cases. We have to demand that they do a better job and we have to provide more support systems for people who suffer from those crimes on college campuses.”

Beshear said there should be more sexual assault cases investigated and prosecuted.

During his first year, Beshear has infamously locked horns with Republican Gov. Matt Bevin over a variety of executive orders. One of the cases disputing changes to allotments for the state colleges and universities went all the way to the state Supreme Court, where Beshear was ruled victorious and Bevin was forced to return the funding.

The attorney general said he didn’t seek the job to fight with the governor, but said it’s important to stand up for law and the Constitution and challenge when necessary (5:15 in the interview below).

“I appreciate the wins, but I hope we don’t have to be in too many more of these,” Beshear said. “I hope that before taking major actions the governor will listen to counsel and consider whether maybe with a little more patience or maybe going through a couple more steps or maybe going to the legislature, he can accomplish some of his goals in different ways.”

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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