Students, faculty respond to Kentucky gubernatorial election

A political sign endorsing Democratic candidate Jack Conway stands in the front yard of a home in Bowling Green. Conway is running against Republican candidate Matt Bevin for the 2015 Kentucky gubernatorial election.

Monica Brown

With the upcoming gubernatorial elections, voting has become an important discussion around campus.

On Nov. 3 of this year, Democrat Jack Conway and Republican Matt Bevin will face off for the Kentucky governor position.

Education has been a hot topic between the two candidates. While most of their discussions have centered around childhood education programs such as Head Start, the two have also offered their opinions on the state of higher education.

A May 2015 article by The Courier-Journal compiled views on various issues offered by what where then six candidates for the governor position.

The question poised to the candidates was, “What do you propose to do as governor to address the issue of the rising cost of higher education, and how do you plan to pay for your proposal?”

Bevin’s response noted how one of the main causes of rising tuition is the increase in the number of students who are choosing to attend college.

“As Governor, I would invest in well-structured vocational training programs to develop workers with technical and life skills necessary to contribute to our economy,” Bevin responded. “Additionally, I will lead to implement outcomes based funding to determine the allocation of the tax dollars being spent on post-secondary education.”

Conway touched on his record as Kentucky attorney general and his efforts to stop for-profit colleges that were taking advantage of state students.

Student Government Association senator Nathan Cherry focused on Bevin’s stances on Common Core curriculum. He said while Common Core may not be entirely relevant to the topic of higher education, he agrees with Bevin’s stance on the topic.

“I personally know many parents who are amazed at the stupidity and complexity of the methods their children are forced to use in mathematics and other subjects,” Cherry said. “A generation educated with Common Core will not be prepared for higher education, so I think Matt Bevin gets points from me there for saying he will repeal it.” 

Conway is focusing his views on school funding. His support on national testing is well known as well as his support for funding to establish new schools, funding for block grants to hire more teachers and the elimination of restrictions on federal education funding.

With elections fast approaching, the importance of voting is being discussed on WKU’s campus.

Political science professor Scott Lasley said the odds of a single voter affecting the elections are pretty small, but it is important for citizens to participate. 

“You want to start with voting but also attend things, know your representatives, know your members of congress because then it makes it easier to connect,” Lasley said. “So I would never just encourage students to vote solely because it would affect the outcome but because it is an important part of the process of building political currency.”

Cherry said some students feel as if their vote doesn’t matter.

“Our opinions as students often go unheard simply because we choose not to exercise our right to vote,” Cherry said. “To encourage our fellow students to participate in the democratic process and provide the oversight over our government, I think we have to make people realize that their vote and the elections really do matter. A perfect example of this truth was the Republican gubernatorial primary this year. Matt Bevin defeated James Comer for the Republican bid by less than 100 votes across the entire state of Kentucky.”