Pension discussions take center stage as Democratic candidates square off in debate

Photo: WKYT/Garrett Wymer

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – A number of topics were covered during an hour-long debate on UK’s campus between Democratic candidates for Kentucky governor. Candidates spent a good amount of time discussing the economy and health care in the state, but no topic loomed larger than Kentucky’s beleaguered pension system.

Rocky Adkins cited 2013 reforms as making headway on the problem, stating, “Keep the reforms that we have in place. Any modifications or adjustments made need to be made with bipartisan support, stakeholders at the table."

Andy Beshear listed expanded gaming, medical marijuana, closing corporate tax loopholes and stopping some tax incentives as ways to create new revenue for pensions.

"A pension is a promise, and I was raised that when you make a promise you keep that promise. And folks, I'm the only candidate in this race that will actually give you specifics," said Beshear.

Adam Edelen said he'll make sure the pension system is run for the benefit of those getting them, saying, "The issue is that teachers paid their 13 percent every month in and they were failed by a Frankfort budget process that failed to do it the same."

Meanwhile, Geoff Young called for raising taxes on the rich to fund pensions.

"A great deal of structural change is not needed in the pension system. What we really have is a political problem. It has to be funded."

Candidates also all talked about the need to invest more money in public higher education, although there were some differences in the ways to pay for that.

The debate will be aired in full Wednesday night at 7 p.m. on the CW Lexington.

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