Kentucky GOP blasts Beshear over vacant school board seats

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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By Steve Bittenbender

The Center Square

Republican leaders are calling on Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear to fill two seats on the state’s Board of Education after a report said those spots have not been filled in more than a year.

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At least one of those positions, according to The Courier-Journal, is supposed to go to a Republican.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, called out the Democratic governor’s inaction as a political ploy.

State Republican Chairman Mac Brown sent Beshear a letter reminding him of his “legal obligation as the governor to uphold the law and ensure that board appointments reflect the voter registration of our citizens.”

“I’d be happy to send you a list of Republicans if you’re having trouble finding one,” Brown wrote.

Beshear’s office has said the two positions in question remain filled by the members whose terms expired in April 2022. Only one of those members, though according to the Courier-Journal, has expressed an interest in continuing to serve in one of the 11 voting seats.

During his weekly press conference in Frankfort, the governor said he’d likely interview a candidate in the week ahead and that he’s always followed the law.

“I don’t answer to either political party,” Beshear said. “I answer to the people of Kentucky, and appointments to the Kentucky Board of Education are not and will never be political.”

The report and statements come after Beshear claimed an easy victory in the May 16 Democratic gubernatorial primary. He’ll face Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who won the Republican primary on the same day.

While Beshear is a popular governor according to recent surveys, many expect the election to be a close race, especially as Beshear has often clashed with Cameron, Stivers and other GOP leaders during his first term.

Lawmakers and other Republican Party officials have worked to pair Beshear with Education Commissioner Jason Glass. Glass drew the ire of Republican legislators earlier this year when he said teachers should use pronouns students prefer – a move that ran counter to legislation Republicans passed over Beshear’s veto during this year’s General Assembly session.

Beshear has told reporters Glass was appointed by the board, but Republicans have noted that he made wholesale changes to that panel shortly after taking office.

“He is not ‘education first,’ but ‘politics first,’ which is evident by him having appointed only Democrats to the board after blowing it up on his first day in office – giving us a far-left education commissioner. … It is time for the governor to represent all people, not just members of his political party,” Stivers said in a statement.