The Andy Beshear/Jacqueline Coleman Democratic campaign for Governor/Lt. Governor released their platform plank that focuses on teachers across the Commonwealth. They call it “Stop the Bullying, Raise the Pay.”

There are four actions: (from Andy Beshear for Kentucky)

1) Increase teacher salaries: ensure that teachers are paid a competitive salary. Teacher’s salaries are lower now than 10 years ago because of inflation and very few pay raises, if any, in the last decade. Proposal: $2,000 across the board raises. Mississippi, Louisiana, and Oklahoma have passed bipartisan legislation in the past year like this. Also, create a new pay scale that will ensure no starting teacher salary is below $40,000 by 2022.

2) Student loan forgiveness: Kentucky should pursue legislation that will reward educators who commit to stay and teach here for a certain number of years will be eligible for student loan forgiveness when they fulfill their commitment.

3) Promote continuing education: The Beshear administration will prioritize programs that encourage teachers to stay on the cutting edge of teaching content and techniques that maximize learning in the 21st century. There will be money budgeted for Staff development, unlike today where districts have very little, if any.

4) Working with – not against – teachers: A top priority of the Beshear/Coleman administration will be repairing the damage done to the public trust by Matt Bevin. Jacqueline Coleman is an educator and understands the realities that challenge educators in the Commonwealth. There will be immediate halt of threats to fine educators. That will be replaced with decency and dignity that educators deserve.

Additionally, The Beshear/Coleman campaign has promised teachers, police officers, firefighters and public employees generally that they will be able to retire with dignity, and Kentucky will keep that promise. All these public servants are the Commonwealth’s FIRST RESPONDERS in one way or another. The least we can do is protect the PROMISED PENSIONS they have paid into during their years of service.

Another issue that we expect and deserve is full transparency. Every day we find that Self-serving politicians from the top to our local officials get away with corrupt practices that enrich themselves.

Andy Beshear has released multiple year tax returns so that we can judge where potential conflicts of interest may exist. He will fight corruption in government by requiring statewide officeholders to release tax returns, by banning state contractors from giving gifts (emoluments) to public officials, and by supporting term limits for state legislators.

Andy Beshear/Jacqueline Coleman believe that every public school should be fully funded, and every child should have a shot at the “American Dream” regardless of zip code and family income. Strong public schools will attract companies who want to invest in Kentucky for the right reasons.

A local example: When a Pella manager from Iowa was asked, why did Murray get the nod for the new plant here? Two excellent school districts was his immediate answer.

On Set. 28, 2019, from 2-6 p.m. at 1107 Holly Ave, Fairdale, KY 40118, there will be “Bullied by Bevin” catered picnic with BBQ, hotdogs and hamburgers. “If you think Bevin is a Bully, this your picnic,” reads the tagline. It is being put on by Sen. Dan Seum, a Republican, who believes that this nonpartisan event is an opportunity for teachers, judges, journalists, retirees, legislators, and union members to come together.

“I don’t know how you can govern if you have insulted everybody,” said Seum. “Big groups of people make things happen working together as a team, and we’re only going to solve pensions (our problems) if we all sit down at the table civilly and talk.” (Sonka, Courier-Journal)

In the past two years, Matt Bevin has blamed teachers for sexual assaults and in one case, the shooting of a specific child in Louisville during teacher sickouts. He has called teachers “thug-like” and “greedy.” He said that teachers only missed during a sickout “to get a paid day off work.” Matt Bevin has insulted, attacked and illegally tried to cut pensions.

By insulting educators, he has insulted every citizen in the Commonwealth.  

“Public education is the single best way to build a better, brighter future for Kentuckians”, says Andy Beshear.

Vote Democrat! Stop the bullying!

Marshall Ward is a Murray resident who is a member of the Democratic Party. He may be reached at josephmarshallward@gmail.com.

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