INTERVIEW: Ky. Attorney General Andy Beshear pledges to work with Governor in new year
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says he has a New Year's resolution. He says he's going to try to get along with Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Call it a New Year's resolution. Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says he's going to try to work with Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and the new Republican majority in the General Assembly.
WDRB's Lawrence Smith sat down with Beshear on Tuesday to talk about his first year in office, including his battles with Bevin.
Beshear is one of only two elected statewide Democrats still standing in Frankfort after November’s election -- but he says his focus is not on politics.
"I try to not let the noise or the politics get in the way of the job," Beshear said.
Beshear was elected Attorney General despite a Republican wave that swept Bevin into office in 2015. With the GOP soon to take control of the Kentucky House, he'll spend the rest of his term with fewer allies at the Capitol.
"We've got a lot of things that are teed up this legislative session, that none of them are partisan at all," Beshear said.
Beshear says his focus is on his priorities as the state's chief law enforcement officer: issues he's addressed this year, such as the heroin epidemic, human trafficking, and cybercrimes such as child pornography and consumer scams.
"We've never taken our eye off the ball," Beshear said. "There have been distractions along the way, but this office is committed to the mission, and we always will be."
Among those distractions was Beshear’s ongoing battle with Governor Bevin, suing Bevin over several of his actions, including mid-year budget cuts to higher education and revamping the University of Louisville's Board of Trustees.
"We filed each and every one of them because at my core, I believe that there was a constitutional violation, or a violation of Kentucky law," Beshear said.
But Beshear also faced scandals in his own office, including the conviction of his former deputy, Tim Longmeyer, on bribery charges dating back to the administration of Beshear's father, former Governor Steve Beshear.
Governor Bevin frequently says the Attorney General should get his own house in order.
"The Governor doesn't comment on issues in his own office, or in a cabinet, but he tweets about mine and tries to bully the media into covering and somehow connecting them," Beshear said. "What I am intent each day is that none of this distracts us."
Looking forward, Beshear says a big priority will be a bipartisan bill to further protect children from predators.
"We're reaching out, building as many relationships as we can, and I'm only going to look forward," Beshear said.
When asked about a future run for governor, Beshear says he'll work hard in his current job and let the future take care of itself.
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