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Local News Politics

Candidates for Governor Debate Tonight on KET

For the last time, the candidates for governor of Kentucky will meet for a televised debate today.

Democratic incumbent Steve Beshear has taken criticism for not showing up to debates and forums. He’ll appear on Kentucky Tonight with Republican challenger David Williams and independent Gatewood Galbraith.

Galbraith and Williams met last month on KET for a debate on education, which Beshear declined to attend. Beshear and Williams also debated without Galbraith at a Kentucky Farm Bureau event.

All three candidates attended the annual Fancy Farm Picnic, but Kentucky Tonight will mark only the second time they’ve debated. The first was earlier this month at an event put on by the Kentucky Broadcasters Association.

KET has featured the candidates in the other statewide elections, and last week, the candidates for lieutenant governor debated.

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Politics

Chandler Blames Federal Deficit on Bush-Era Tax Cuts

by Dan Conti, Kentucky Public Radio

Congressman Ben Chandler says one of the main causes of today’s historic trillion dollar federal budget deficit is the tax cuts that were approved during the Bush Administration. The Versailles Democrat made the comment during an interview on KET’s One to One program.

Chandler says tax policy under President Clinton produced a budget surplus but the lower rates championed by President Bush mostly benefited the rich.

“These were the largest tax cuts that we’ve had, maybe ever, but certainly in a very long time,” he said. “And they are a tremendous cause of the deficits that we’re looking at right now. And most of those tax cuts went to the very wealthiest people in this country.”

Chandler says wealthy people today have more money as a percentage of the economy than they’ve ever had in the history of the U.S.

“It’s kept us from having the ability to properly fund things like Medicare and Social Security,” he said. “So now people want to come along and say, ‘surprisingly, we don’t have the money to fund Medicare and Social Security.’ Well, of course we don’t. We’ve given all these big tax cuts to the wealthiest people in the country.

Chandler says he doesn’t like to hear programs like Social Security and Medicare referred to as “entitlements”. He says most recipients paid into those programs all their lives and earned the benefits.

Republicans argue that raising taxes on the wealthy will discourage investment in new economic development projects.

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Local News

KET Debates Begin Tonight

The first of eight special election episodes of Kentucky Tonight will air on KET this evening.

All candidates for statewide office this year have agreed to appear live on the show. Monday, the candidates of Agriculture Commissioner will debate. Democrat Bob Farmer and Republican James Comer will appear for one hour starting at 8 pm.

Next week, the three candidates for State Treasurer will debate. That show will feature Libertarian candidate Kenneth Moellman, who was the only treasurer candidate not to speak at last month’s Fancy Farm picnic.

The candidates for other offices will appear in the following weeks. Two shows with the gubernatorial candidates have been scheduled, however, Democratic incumbent Steve Beshear will only participate in one. He will forgo the September 26th debate on education. Republican candidate David Williams and independent Gatewood Galbraith will appear without him. All three will debate on KET on October 31st.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Candidates for State Auditor, Treasurer Debate

The candidates for state auditor and treasurer talked about their backgrounds and professional records Monday evening during their respective debates on Kentucky Education Television.

In the Republican primary race for state auditor, state Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Burlington, and Lexington businessman John Kemper kept things civil and stuck to their stump speeches, touting their independence as an asset needed to be auditor.

The winner of that contest will face Democratic state auditor candidate Adam Edelen, who is running unopposed in the primary.

The Democratic candidates for treasurer, however, were slightly more confrontational during their debate. Challenger Steve Hamrick accused incumbent state Treasurer Todd Hollenbach of mismanagement and being inattentive to his job.

“About the only person who has had a worse year is Tiger Woods,” said Hamrick, a Hopkinsville businessman. “But Todd’s had the opportunity to play more golf than Tiger has.”

Elected in 2007, Hollenbach defended his record, saying that he’s run a cost-effective office and only played golf once last year.

The winner in that primary will face Republican KC Crosbie, a member of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council.

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Local News Politics

Williams Challenges Beshear to Debate on Medicaid, Beshear Says Williams Should “Do His Job”

Kentucky Senate President David Williams is challenging Gov. Steve Beshear to a televised debate over Medicaid, but the debate is not likely to happen.

Governor Beshear is flying around the state, trying to drum up support for his plan to balance Medicaid within the Medicaid budget. The Republican-controlled Senate wants across-the-board cuts to state agencies. Senate President David Williams says the governor should return home and debate him on Kentucky Educational Televsion.

“So that we can put both sides of this budget controversy in front of the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Ask Mr. Goodman to moderate that and have press available if they want to be there to ask any questions,” he says.

But Beshear says there is nothing to debate and Williams “needs to do his job.” Beshear called lawmakers back to Frankfort after they failed to balance the Medicaid budget during the 30-day regular session that ended last week.

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KET Supports Campaign To Fight Public Broadcasting Cuts

Kentucky Educational Television is asking its viewers to oppose calls for cuts to federal funding for public broadcasting. KET is one of many broadcasters taking part in the 170 Million Americans campaign.

The campaign is aimed at organizing listeners and viewers of public radio and television to urge their legislators to oppose any cuts. Several lawmakers are proposing cuts to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which helps fund public radio and television across the country, and provides 14% of KET’s $23 million budget.

Spokesperson Tim Bischoff says public broadcasting is not biased as some have contended, and without it, many Americans would have few or no sources for news and entertainment.

“In many rural communities the public broadcaster is the only local broadcasting voice in that community, whether it be through educational television or through public radio,” he says.

About one million people watch KET programs at home or in classrooms each week. Most of the network’s funding comes from the state government. Bischoff says Kentucky lawmakers are supportive of KET, but like any other state agency, the network has faced cuts and is already stretching its current budget as far as it can go.

“We’re offering thousands of resources online and a great deal of content online,” he says. “We’re broadcasting three channels 24 hours a day, back in 1991 we were offering one channel just part of the day, not even 24 hours a day.”

Louisville Public Media and other public radio stations in Kentucky are also supporting the 170 Million Americans campaign.

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Local News

KET Changes Debate Formats

Kentucky Educational Television is changing its political coverage this year. The network will no longer broadcast traditional debates, but will instead invite candidates to appear with their opponents on the talk show Kentucky Tonight.

By bypassing formal debates, KET can also bypass equal time requirements. Spokesperson Tim Bischoff says the regulation led to a situation in 2008, when Representative Ed Whitfield refused to debate his opponent and the network was forced to air a video prepared by Whitfield’s campaign after his opponent fielded debate questions.

“We won’t be required to air a taped statement,” he says. “That candidate, if they choose not to appear within the format and with the person that they’re running against, they would not have another opportunity to be on KET,”

Bischoff says Kentucky Tonight’s format will allow for more talk between candidates and for questions from viewers.

“This will allow for there to be back and forth conversation between the candidates—which we’ve not really been able to have previously—with a more formal type of debate where candidates really are not allowed to talk to one another; they’re kept within very tight time constraints,” he says.

Candidates will appear on the following days:

  • 5th Congressional District Democrats, April 5
  • 3rd Congressional District Republicans, April 12
  • 6th Congressional District Republicans, April 26
  • Democrats for U.S. Senate, May 3
  • Republicans for U.S. Senate, May 10
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Local News

KET-1 Going Entirely HD

Kentucky Educational Television’s main channel will broadcast exclusively in HD starting Thursday, completing its digital transition.

KET spokesperson Tim Bischoff says the network wanted to go HD in April, when it turned off its analog signals, but didn’t have the technology to do so.

“We didn’t have all of the equipment in house that we required to be able to broadcast 24/7,” he says.

But now, KET-1 will broadcast in high-definition signals all day. Bischoff says the switch is the last large-scale update for some time.

“I’m not sure what the step beyond it would even be. I’m sure one day somebody will invent 3-d or smell-o-vision or something like that, but we’re not to that point,” he says.

KET had previously broadcast HD programs during prime time on its KET-HD channel. It will now become the Kentucky Channel 24-hours-a-day and broadcast only locally-produced programs.

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Local News

KET Goes Digital-Only

Kentucky Educational Television will turned off its analog signals early this morning. But a digital converter box may not be enough for some viewers.

Viewers without cable or satellite television will need converter boxes or newer model TVs in order to watch the digital signals. But KET spokesperson Tim Bischoff says viewers in mountainous or remote areas may need to replace or move the antennas those boxes and TVs plug into.

“Some folks who maybe would’ve been able to get by with rabbit ears on top of their television before will find that they may need an antenna in the attic or an antenna on the roof to continue to receive free, over-the-air television,” he says.

KET joins CW channel 34 in Louisville in turning off analog signals before the June 12th transition deadline. The other stations in Louisville will keep broadcasting in both analog and digital until then.