Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Don't Look Now, LePage, But Bevin Is Gaining on You

Threatening phone calls to legislators? Check.  Legislators considering impeachment?  Check.  Childishly defensive accusations in the media?  Check.  Boorish behavior that would embarrass a five-year-old?  Check.

State Rep. Russ Meyer, D-Nicholasville, released a recording of a voicemail message Tuesday that he received in December from Matt Bevin in which Meyer says the Republican governor warned him of the “impacts” of not switching political parties.

Meyer said in an interview Tuesday morning that he received the call from Bevin on his cellphone at 8:40 a.m. Dec. 17 after he had informed Bevin’s chief of staff, Blake Brickman, that he wasn’t going to switch parties.

Meyer said he had met with the governor and Brickman on Dec. 15 and talked to Brickman again Dec. 16.

In the tape Meyer released Tuesday, Bevin said he was “a little disappointed by some of what I’m hearing. Would love to speak to you.”

"I want to make sure you understand, uh, where, where things are in my mind and the decisions I’m going to make, uh, in the days ahead, the weeks ahead, the months ahead. I want you to be very aware of what the impacts of those decisions will be as it relates to you, your seat, your district, etc. — just so we have all the cards on the table,” Bevin said.

Meyer said Tuesday that he thinks a major road project in his district was postponed recently because he decided to remain a Democrat. The Bevin administration has denied that.

The $11 million project was an extension of East Brannon Road in Jessamine County to Tates Creek Road near the Fayette County line. It had been approved by Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, just before he left office in December.

The Bevin administration delayed the project, saying the Beshear administration didn’t secure a necessary portion of land before the deadline to begin work. The state was contractually obligated to pay The Allen Co. $625,000 in damages because of the delay.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, told reporters Tuesday that state or federal officials should investigate the matter.

“I would think that either state or federal authorities would look at this and at least give it a look and see,” Stumbo said. “There’s certainly very serious allegations about the abuse of the separation of powers.”

If the allegations are true, Stumbo said, the House would consider pursuing articles of impeachment against Bevin.

“If they canceled that project to retaliate against a member that was duly elected, then that’s a waste of taxpayer money and in my judgment, that’s a theft,” Stumbo said.

Bevin’s director of communications, Jessica Ditto, said Stumbo has lost credibility with the people of Kentucky.

“Speaker Stumbo’s erratic behavior and foolish comments are an embarrassment to the commonwealth,” Ditto said in a statement. “Kentuckians deserve better than such buffoonery from our leaders.”
Projection is a hell of a drug.

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