Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bentley, Bengsch Sound Off on Governor's Race

Bentley: "Nixon did a really good job too, I hate to say . . ."
Republican Greene County Commissioners Roseanne Bentley and Harold Bengsch said they liked what they heard from the candidates for Governor about local control and unfunded mandates at a recent event in Jefferson City, but aren't ready to endorse in the G.O.P. primary.

Republicans Kenny Hulshof and Sarah Steelman and Democrat Jay Nixon recently each got to make their pitch to County Commissioners across the state.

Commissioner Bentley thought Hulshof did a bit better than Steelman, because of the time of day he spoke and his openness to receiving questions. "Kenny had an edge, simply because he spoke during the lunch hour, while she spoke later," Bentley told the KY3 Political Notebook.

"Basically they spoke about the same things, but I thought her reluctance to take questions put Kenny at a stronger advantage," Bentley said.

Bentley liked what Hulshof had to say about unfunded mandates and dealing with state prison populations. Commissioner Bengsch only got to hear Hulshof speak and said he indicated he supported "good local control, as opposed to taking it away."

"We're very interested in the reimbursement rate counties get for taking care of state prisoners, and Hulshof said he would reimburse at a stronger rate," Bengsch said.

Bentley said Steelman also touched on the topic. "Both did well, and Jay Nixon did a really good job too, I hate to say . . . not being my party," Bentley acknowledged. "He was more energetic and Sarah didn't take questions, and people had questions. I don't know if she had another appointment to go to."

When asked if she was endorsing a candidate, Bentley replied, "I'm in a primary myself, so it's wise for me not to pick. I'm being cautious."

Bengsch said it's hard to really make a decision between Hulshof and Steelman "based on 1 or 2 speeches." "I'm open to listening to what everyone has to say. Obviously, my loyalties are to the Republican Party, but I'm open to everyone," he said.

Bengsch said he would still like to hear more about how candidates would specifically deal with unfunded or partially unfunded mandates and "budgeting on the backs of the local level."

He said a shortened primary season for the Republicans will probably bring both Steelman and Hulshof's positions "under scrutiny much faster."

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