By Rachel Bailey
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Kentucky lawmaker is apologizing for a tweet that appeared to criticize teachers running for office.
Republican State Sen. Stephen Meredith of Leitchfield was responding to a WKYT story about the number of educators running for office in Kentucky. The tweet said, “40% of high school grads can’t read or do math. Yes, let’s see what they can do with state government.”
Meredith told WDRB by phone Wednesday evening that he regrets leaving the impression that he doesn’t respect teachers.
“The point I was trying to make was that teachers should go ahead and run for office," he said. "But I want them to know that it’s not as easy as it looks.”
His tweet garnered backlash almost instantly, including from Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes:
Steve Meredith, a KY state senator, believes teachers shouldn't be elected to government. We'll see about that come November. #EducationIsOntheBallot #120Strong #RememberInNovember pic.twitter.com/nJyrhuSFua— Alison L. Grimes (@AlisonForKY) April 4, 2018
There are 40 teachers running for the Kentucky General Assembly in 2018. Thirty-two of those are Democrats. Eight are Republicans.
Meredith was one of 22 senators to vote yes on Senate Bill 151 on Thursday. Fifteen senators voted no. The 291-page proposal to overhaul the state’s pension system was tacked on to a sewer bill and came as a surprise to many. It passed the House by a 49-46 vote and now awaits Gov. Matt Bevin’s signature.
“This pension plan is a fair compromise,” Meredith said. “And almost immediately after voting, I started getting attacked and vilified by teachers. It’s frustrating.”
Meredith has since deleted his Twitter. He said that he has no plans to reactivate his account.
“Social media is just getting too toxic,” he said.
Meredith began serving as a senator in 2017. He represents Breckinridge, Edmonson, Grayson, Hart, LaRue and Meade counties.
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