Former First Lady Jane Beshear’s name was removed from the Capitol Education Center on the grounds of the Capitol in July, but since its removal two agencies have been pointed to for their role in the soon to be renamed center.
After a legislative committee meeting last week revealed the cabinet secretary who ordered the signs removed, Gov. Bevin told Pure Politics he was unaware of the committee meeting or the directive to replace the sign.
Since Jane Beshear’s named disappeared from the building Gov. Bevin has said he was unaware of the changes until reports surfaced of the signs removal. In mid-July, Bevin told reporters the sign was likely removed by landscapers.
When contacted by Pure Politics in July, Pamela Trautner, spokeswoman for the Finance and Administration Cabinet, declined to specify who directed the education center’s name change, saying that the cabinet is working on the project to honor Kentucky’s military heritage.
The issue came alive again last week when Rep. Rita Smart, D-Richmond, serving on the Budget Review Subcommittee on General Government, Finance and Public Protection asked Finance and Administration Deputy Sec. Mark Bunning about the removal of Jane Beshear’s name.
Bunning said it was Sec. William Landrum of the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet who made the decision to remove the former First Lady’s name from the Capitol Education Center.
“His plan is to honor the Gold Star families, and he is in the process of doing that,” Bunning said. “The plan and his implementation of that plan is going to be revealed in the next month or so.”
“Gold Star” families have taken center stage of late as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attacked one such family in recent weeks.
The “Gold Star” distinction dates back to WWI when families flew flags and banners with a blue star signifying a family member was serving in combat, according to the U.S. Army. The “Gold Star” replaced a blue star if that family member is killed.
Pure Politics asked Gov. Bevin at a pre-Fancy Farm event about Bunning’s comments last week, but the revelation was news to the first year Republican Governor.
“I literally don’t know anything about it,” Bevin said. “I’ve always been a hands off as much as possible, hands on as much as necessary — I didn’t even know they had a committee meeting — I certainly wasn’t at it.
“I get a monthly report from every one of my cabinets — many of my cabinet secretary’s I meet with more regularly than that, but I literally ask for a written report every single month, so when I get July’s report I probably see some of that same information.”
The twist to the story caught the attention of the Kentucky Democratic Party’s spokesman Daniel Lowry who wondered what was going on with the Capitol Education Center.
“First he claimed he had no idea about the location of a building and a sign that stood in plain view — almost right next to the Governor’s Mansion,” Lowry said in the statement. “The former first lady raised more than a quarter of a million dollars for that center, and we suspect that Gov. Bevin is so vindictive and petty he couldn’t stand seeing her name out there.
“First he blamed the groundskeeper and now claims he had no idea that a cabinet secretary just went rogue without his knowledge,” Lowry continued. “A cabinet spokesperson acknowledged right when that story broke that they were planning on re-naming it. This is why Kentuckians call him Bad Move Bevin.”
Interview and video by reporter Don Weber.