Kentucky’s candidates for governor will be in town Tuesday.

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear will compete at Northern Kentucky University in the last gubernatorial debate. Free tickets are available when doors open at 5 p.m.

  • What: Kentucky Gubernatorial Debate
  • When: Oct. 29, 2019 from 7-8 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m.
  • Where: NKU’s James C. and Rachel M. Votruba Student Union Ballroom

Ahead of the debate, The Enquirer sent Bevin and Beshear and Libertarian candidate John Hicks questions about Northern Kentucky issues.

Beshear answered the questions but Bevin has not yet replied. This will be the fifth televised gubernatorial debate.

More: At debate, Gov. Matt Bevin denies saying people commit suicide in casinos. He did

Here’s what The Enquirer asked about:

The Brent Spence Bridge

The General Assembly banned any tolling of a new bridge from Kentucky to Ohio. However, no new bridge has been built in the country without the use of tolls in the past decade. If you don’t support tolling a new bridge, how do you plan to pay for a new bridge?

Beshear didn’t share how he would fund a new bridge but he talked about the importance of finding a solution that doesn’t burden local communities. 

Beshear: “With the Brent Spence Bridge and our infrastructure as a whole, we’re falling behind and putting our people at risk. And it’s only going to cost us more the longer we wait to fix our failing roads and bridges. We should make the necessary repairs to the Brent Spence Bridge and the first step will be listening and partnering with local leaders to make sure we’re not burdening local communities in any way. We need a governor who is going to take that kind of approach. In contrast, Matt Bevin bullies our teachers and can’t even get along with his own lieutenant governor.” 

In 2016, Bevin supported a bill that would ban tolls from funding new bridges. That bill sought to allow private money to pay for public projects. Then he signed it.

He has since pivoted away from the anti-toll stance. 

In January, he said “tolling will be part of” the solution to replace the Brent Spence Bridge. He told reporters he thought he and Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine could work together on a solution. 

Earlier this month, Bevin spoke about the bridge at the Enzweiler Building Institute in Erlanger, according to WLWT.

He didn’t directly say how he planned to fund it. He mentioned he thinks the legislature is moving toward supporting tolls and gas taxes. 

Sports Wagering/Expanded Gaming

What are your thoughts on the Turfway Park and Churchill Downs announcement? Does the future of horse racing in KY require expanded gaming or sports wagering to exist and compete?

Beshear: “The recent Turfway Park and Churchill Downs announcement shows how much new economic opportunity we can create if we finally make Kentucky more competitive by expanding gaming. Our plan legalizes casinos, sports betting, online poker, and fantasy sports – and directs 100 percent of the revenue toward pensions for teachers, first responders, and social workers. Matt Bevin refuses to expand gaming and it’s costing Kentucky over $500 million in revenue every year. Expanded gaming will also boost tourism and hospitality opportunities that drive-in new visitors, additional revenue and create good-paying jobs. There’s no reason why these opportunities should only exist on one side of the river.” 

Bevin has said there’s “no political appetite” for expanded gambling in Kentucky, according to the Associated Press. 

Health care rules

“Certificates of Need” has impacted regional healthcare. In 2017 Christ Hospital wanted to open a surgical center in Northern Kentucky but St. Elizabeth Healthcare opposed the project and said more healthcare competition would drive up the cost. Kentucky regulates hospital spending with a Certificate of Need. According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health, CON “prevents the proliferation of health care facilities, health services and major medical equipment that increase the cost of quality health care in the commonwealth.” What is your position on Certificate of Need? Do you want to see modifications to the regulation?

Beshear did not directly answer this question and instead talked about expanding Medicaid. 

Beshear: “Health care is a basic human right – and I’m going to focus every day to make sure every Kentuckian has access to affordable health care. As attorney general, I’ve fought to protect expanded Medicaid and coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Matt Bevin disagrees. His harmful policies would let insurance companies deny coverage to Kentuckians for prescription drugs, chronic disease management, maternity care and more. Bevin’s Medicaid cuts would also rip coverage away from 95,000 Kentuckians, which directly threatens rural hospitals and health care clinics.”

Julia Fair is the Northern Kentucky government reporter through the Report For America program. The Enquirer needs a local donor to help her grant-funded position. Email her editor Carl Weiser for more details at  

Do you know something she should know? Send her a note at and follow her on twitter at @JFair_Reports.

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