Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues
Kentucky, which has been at the forefront of Medicaid expansion, the "war on coal" and the battle over same-sex marriage, on Tuesday elected a conservative Republican as its next governor, only the second time the state has elected a Republican governor since 1971. The credit, or blame, depending on your opinion about Governor-elect Matt Bevin, goes to the state's rural voters, who have now turned the state red. Both of the state's U.S. senators are Republicans, and five of its six House members are Republicans. The state Senate is Republican-controlled, while the state House is Democrat-led, the last such chamber in the South.
Conway won in Rowan County—where county clerk Kim Davis waged her war on same-sage marriage—by a count of 49.7 percent to 46.7 percent. But President Obama carried that county, and in heavily Republican Casey County, where the county clerk has also refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, Bevin scored 79.3 percent of the vote to 18.1 percent for Conway. Bevin had called for current Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, "to issue an executive order freeing Davis of the responsibility of issuing the licenses and even had his photo taken with Davis," Joseph Gerth reports for The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Bevin's hometown.
Bevin at first said he would abolish Medicaid expansion "but for the last three months has said he would seek a federal waiver to revise it," reports Kentucky Health News, published by the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, which also publishes The Rural Blog. In Kentucky the uninsured rate dropped from 20.8 percent in 2013 to 9.8 percent in 2014, reports Kentucky Health News. The state had the nation's largest decrease of number of uninsured residents from 2013 to 2014, KHN reports.
"As governor, Bevin has called for an austere budget to pay down Kentucky’s state worker pension program’s unfunded liability, and he has promised to move new teachers over to a 401k type program rather than a traditional pension," Gerth writes.