ASHLAND With three days until Election Day, Andy Beshear’s supporters gathered together to knock on doors and make phone calls to ensure his spot in Frankfort.
His supporters ranged from teachers ready for change to union workers. Beshear visited Ashland on Saturday as one of his many stops in eastern Kentucky to encourage voters to vote Bevin out of office.
“I’m excited because all across Kentucky we see crowds like this,” said Beshear. “(A crowd) that demands a governor that listens more than he talks and solves more problems than he creates.”
Beshear stopped in Pike and Floyd counties before arriving in Ashland.
“I want to make sure public education is fully funded,” said Suzanne Griffith, who retired from teaching in Kentucky. “It’s not about my pension or someone else’s, even though that is very important. I want to have full funding for all of Kentucky’s school systems. That is my No. 1 issue.”
Griffith decided to retire and cut her career in Kentucky short after 29 years because of the proposed cuts to teacher benefits and retirement.
“I’m very concerned with the right to work, and the damage that has done to the normal, everyday Kentuckian,” she said. “I’d like to see some of that reversed.”
Griffith now teaches in Ohio.
“This election is the most critical election of our lifetime,” said Beshear. “The future of public education, rural health care and the pension of 200 public severants are all on the line. What else is on the line? Whether or not we will demand a governor act with decency and never engage in bullying.”
Ashley Dalton is a teacher at Russell Primary and has been teaching for seven years.
“I was born and raised here, and I plan to stay here,” she said. “It’s really important we get a governor that supports education.”
She said getting a governor who cares about public education was something her family needed.
“I’m hoping we get a governor who supports public education and doesn’t attack teachers,” said Dalton. “We put our kids first. Me and my husband are both teachers, so our future depends on that pension. It’s a pretty big deal for us.”
“For four years, this governor has attacked and bullied teachers, you can listen to his own words. He has called them thugs, ignorant people,” Beshear said. “Then he said children were shot or sexually abused (because teachers) came to the capital to have their voices heard.”
Missy Salyers, who is the president of the Boyd County Education Association, is scared registered voters won’t come out to the polls.
“Parents need to realize the funding we get to provide the best possible education for their children, Tuesday’s vote decides that,” she said. “All of our local districts are decided by those in Frankfort.”
Heather Berry was another teacher who came out to support Beshear on Saturday. She is a visual arts teacher at East Carter High School.
“The last four years have been so hard in my profession,” Berry said. “For my students and for myself, it’s time for us to make a change. That change has to happen in the governor’s office. We need a governor who respects teachers.”
Berry said she strives every day to teach her students how to be good citizens.
“That’s learning how to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t have the same belief as them without going to name-calling,” Berry said. “We have someone in the highest position in the state that should model the same behavior and they’re not.”