Legislative leaders give Beshear high marks for handling of coronavirus

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Legislative leaders of both parties offered fairly high marks in their assessments of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Talking to reporters in Frankfort on Wednesday, House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, said, “He’s done an excellent job of managing the health side of this issue, and we have continued to give him a large amount of credit in flattening the curve and establishing the protocols that have been put in place.”

On the other hand, Osborne said, “I do think there are questions, and I think they are valid questions, that have been raised and are continuing to be raised over making a‘one-size-fits-all approach to reopening.”

He added, “it’s past time for us to transition from talking about essential and non-essential to safe versus not safe, and I think that’s difficult to do as one-size-fits-all.”

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, acknowledged that this is uncharted territory. “Therefore, there is no manual on this, there’s no playbook, there’s no ‘turn to page 44 to figure this out,’ but I think with a little more input, maybe some discussion we’ve had out in our districts, because we’re a little closer to the people than the governor is, and that’s the way the process is set up.”

He also agreed with Osborne about a one-size-fits-all approach to reopening. “You may have a totally different set of protocols in New York City versus Louisville and Louisville versus Manchester.”

Stivers noted, “It’s easy to armchair quarterback, it’s easy to hindsight, but I think there’s a lot of things that can be done to safely conduct business. That should be our goal right now I think, safely conduct business.”

Democratic legislative leaders have offered unqualified support of Beshear’s actions during the pandemic.

Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, said, “I think he has acted smartly and decisively, and I think he has shown leadership during a really trying time.”

House Minority Leader Joni Jenkins, D-Shively, concurred. “I think all you have to do is look mat the states around us to see the numbers, and I think by acting very proactively and quickly, we did flatten the curve and we have seen fewer deaths than surrounding states. And I think most of Kentucky agrees. Acting the way he did, I think we have saved lives here in Kentucky.”

She added, “I hope everyone is taking the encouragement to wear a mask, to social distance, to wash your hands, all those things. I hope they’re taking this very seriously, because I don’t think any of us want to see a surge and have to go backwards.”

McGarvey says the governor’s concern from day one has been to save the lives of Kentuckians. “What he has done is put measures in place to stop the spread of this disease. What doesn’t get mentioned enough is his goal is to save lives, to flatten the curve, so that we can return to a type of normal. That’s what you’re seeing now.”

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