By Portia Williams
GREENUP, Ky. — It was a full house in the Greenup Public Library conference room, more than 50 people came for Matt Bevin, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate meet and greet held Saturday.
“I went on active duty in the military, and I served this nation in uniform for four years. I was active duty as an Army officer. I got out of the military a little over 20 years ago. Since that time, I have been just like those you in this room, I have been paying taxes, and I have been paying attention. This is why I am at the point that I am,” Bevin said.
Bevin shared that he and his wife have nine children, five biological, and four adopted children.
“We had five children, we adopted a sixth child, and then when we adopted this little guy, little Jonah, in the process of that we learned of sibling group of three others that needed a home,” he said. There are 167 million orphans in the world, it’s heart-breaking 167 million who just need a mom and a dad, someone to love them, someone to protect them,” he said.
Bevin enumerated the different business which he owns, emphasizing his role as an employer.
“I am covered by my life experiences, and the fact that I an employer. I employ a lot of people. I have software company, investment management company, an LED sign company. I am curious about a lot of different things. I am an entrepreneur. I am someone who likes to take ideas and turn them into companies and employ people,” he said.
He said he is no stranger to economic challenges, and how they impact communities.
“When you talk about areas like this, when you talk about the economic down-turn, I’ve seen this, I’ve lived this, this is where I grew up, not here, but small-town America. It is going to be saved by somebody coming in here with 10 thousand jobs, it’s not going to happen. It’s going to happen, one two, five, 20 and jobs at a time, that’s how it is going to happen,” he said.
Bevin was not shy in regard to his disdain for the spending patterns of the Obama administration.
“We have 17 and a half trillion dollars in debt now. We’ve just raised the debt ceiling with no effort whatsoever to even cut a penny out of anything, and as Republicans we have the ability to demand that. We do not have the luxury to continue to spend money like drunken sailors, and that’s what we’re doing,” he said.
Bevin said the U.S Senate and upcoming presidential elections are will make a large impact on the nation.
“I am convinced that we have two cycles left, we have this electoral cycle in 2014, and what we do in the U.S. Senate in this race, in the races going on like this in this cycle, and what we do in the next presidential cycle, I think at the national level are going to largely dictate the future of this country,” he said.
Bevin’s opponent, Mitchell “Mitch” McConnell, is the incumbent for the U.S Senate seek that Bevin is seeking. McConnell, is the longest serving U.S. Senator in Kentucky history, and currently he is the seventh most-senior Senator, as well as the fourth most senior Republican member.
“Mitch McConnell not only did not fight to not spend money, he fought to make sure that Barack Obama had a blank check, I think that’s unconscionable. He sold out conservatives, and he did it because he was worried about how it would affect people’s chances to be re-elected,” he said. It is not one party, trust me, it is both parties that are knee-deep in the same kind of nonsense, but it’s selling America’s future out,” he said.
Bevin was transparent in regard to his past support of McConnell.
“I have always voted for Mitch McConnell in the past, but I realize that Mitch McConnell and all of the other career politicians in both parties are selling this country out. He got out of law school nearly 50 years ago, and he has been on our dime ever since. He has done quite well on our dime, I might add,” he said.
Bevin also touched on the issue of raising minimum wage, why he is opposed to increasing it.
“So many things look good on paper, but for those of us out here in the real world understand that it is not as simple as that. There is a cost-benefit analysis that has to be done. There is a real cost to doing business in the world,” he said.
He said change is something that must be acted upon, and accepts the challenge.
“So what are we going to do about it. It’s easy to say we want change. It’s easy to say we want something different. We always say, ‘I hope someone steps up. I hope someone stands in the gap, but guess what? Sometimes we are the somebody. Winston Churchill once noted that history turns on moments like this, and he said shame on the man who finds himself at such a juncture who is either unprepared, or unwilling to take up the task. I have been arguably prepared,” he said.
Bevin said his decision to run for the U.S Senate was not a decision that he made lightly, but together with his wife, came as the result of much thought and prayer.
After addressing the group, Bevin entertained questions and answers from the audience.
Portia Williams can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.