McCool ready to work across the aisle with new governor

State Rep. Bobby McCool, R-Van Lear, presents findings from the Career and Technical Education Task Force during a meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education on Nov. 20. McCool said this week he is prepared to work with Gov.-elect Andy Beshear.

During this month’s elections, Johnson County voted for Republicans across the board, but those wishes weren’t heard on a state level for one office — the governorship. With a Democratic governor-elect, Dist. 97 state Rep. Bobby McCool said he is prepared to work with the new governor in the same way he had worked with the previous one, regardless of party politics.

“(Gov.-elect Andy Beshear) was chosen by the people and we work for the people,” McCool said. “So, we need to work together. At this point, it doesn’t matter whether he’s a Democrat, Independent or Republican, we have to work as one. We are servants of the people and we need to move Kentucky forward.”

McCool said he looked forward to the partnership, regardless of different political leanings, because he wants every member of the state’s government to be successful — even on issues such as abortion laws, about which Beshear had been very vocal during his campaign.

“We just have to agree to disagree, because I’m probably not going to change him and he’s not going to change me,” McCool said, as a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives’ Pro-Life Caucus.

When asked if he thought Beshear would continue Bevin’s push for developing a strong outdoor recreation and tourism industry in Kentucky, McCool said he remains hopeful that party lines won’t come between state government and working toward what McCool believes is for the betterment of the commonwealth.

“I certainly hope so, I think that’s a different issue that we need to work together on,” McCool said. “What we’re doing is working for Kentucky now as governor and as legislators, and I’m really anticipating and hoping that we do … we may disagree on some of those issues, and we will, but that’s life. But, at the same time, if we can come up with things that are for the betterment of Kentucky, then we need to do that.”

McCool echoed those sentiments when asked about Beshear’s support for expanded gambling and marijuana laws. McCool said those things could be looked at if they benefitted the people of Kentucky, but that he doesn’t see them as a way to address a long-standing funding issue within the state.

“With gambling, I’m not in favor of the, personally, but I think we’ve got to look at things, even if I’m not in favor of it, we’ve still got to look at it, doesn’t mean we cut it off,” McCool said. “I don’t know that it’s going to generate a whole lot of revenue, before I make a commitment on something like that I need to see the bill and read it thoroughly. Personally, I’m opposed to gambling, but sometimes, as a leader, you’ve got to look at all angles.

“With the medical marijuana, that’s another issue, that’s not taxable. If it’s going to be a medicine, you don’t tax medicine,” McCool continued. “Doesn’t mean we don’t need to do it, just means it’s not something we’ll be doing looking for revenue. I’m not supportive of recreational, at all. But, if it’s medicine, we need to treat it as medicine.”

Overall, McCool said a bipartisan approach to these important issues is at the forefront of his stance on them.

“I’m kind of anxious and looking forward to the opportunity to work together and lay our differences and our swords aside and look for things for the betterment of Kentucky,” McCool said.

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