COMMENTARY

Time for governor to stop going solo on pandemic actions

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When I was a kid, there was something worse than a punishment. It was hearing my Mom say, “Just wait until your Dad gets home.” When she said that, I knew I was in for it.


That is how this week has felt as we waited for Gov. Andy Beshear to deliver his new regulations related to COVID-19. He advertised it for a couple of days, teasing us with what was to come. The threats of the new shutdown have only increased anxiety among Kentuckians.


Don’t get me wrong. COVID-19 is real. It has affected my family directly. I’ve been to funeral visitations for friends whose family members died because of COVID-19. I’ve prayed with and tried to encourage friends who have been kept at a distance as the life of their isolated loved one drew to a close in a hospital. There has been real pain in 2020.


For the life of me, though, I don’t understand why the governor didn’t learn from the shellacking his party took during the state election. Kentuckians sent a clear message that they want him to work with Republicans in the state house. Many Kentuckians feel they haven’t been heard by state government since the General Assembly dismissed in a rush last spring.


It looked like he was going to let them in on the discussion on Tuesday, teasing us again about meeting with legislators.


What we learned on Wednesday was that the governor intends to keep legislative leaders at arm’s length at best. He met with them as promised but not for any advice. He just told them what he was going to do without further discussion. Being the Lone Ranger is not how you legislate. The governor, who has repeatedly said the pandemic is not a political issue, made an obvious political play on Wednesday as he kept House and Senate leaders out of the decision-making process. They took to social media to vent their frustrations and it’s hard to blame them. It will also likely make for a more contentious General Assembly session that it needed to be.


Broadening the conversation might have brought at least a little peace to the commonwealth. Kentuckians hear the governor through his mandates. The question is, does he hear the voters through Kentucky’s election results?


BRANDON PORTER is communications director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention and editor of Kentucky Today.

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Rick Thompson

The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled the Governor's actions have been legal. I read that to mean that he has legal power to do what he has done without apology or permission of the opposing political party. If he involved the Republican's in the Kentucky government on all the decisions he's had to make during the pandemic the debate would still be going on as to whether masks are anti-American and anti-Christian. He's making decisions on fast moving facts and using his legal powers to try to protect Kentuckians because he knows the reality of the political atmosphere in our state. The Communications Director of the KBC should be communicating the truth but I see this column as an attempt to communicate a purely partisan political message. In your position I am sure that you know much better than I the reality of what would happen if the Governor had to run every decision up the Republican flag pole before he put needed safety guidelines in place - and I say that as a Republican.

Thursday, November 19
Dr. Dan Francis

I don't find this kind of conversation helpful. When Mr. Porter says "I don’t understand why the governor didn’t learn from the shellacking his party took during the state election" he is being petty and political in a way that is not helpful in a pandemic. But since he is determined to make it political, he might want to remember this: "The governor’s orders were, and continue to be, necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of all Kentucky citizens," said Justice Lisabeth T. Hughes, who wrote the 103-page opinion for the seven-member court. These words were from the unanimous and bipartisan decision of the Kentucky Supreme Court just a week ago. Come on . . . stop making everything we do about party politics!

Thursday, November 19

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