Matt Bevin, Republican candidate for governor, reads to the first grade students of Laura Baker’s class Wednesday at Hopkins Elementary School. Bevin said the rain made his choice of books, “I Wish That I Had Duck Feet,” an appropriate one. He was one of more than 25 guest readers at the school’s Read Across America activities, where students were encouraged to dress as their favorite Dr. Seuss characters.

A love of reading attracted gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin to Hopkins Elementary School Wednesday morning. 

The Republican candidate read “I Wish That I Had Duck Feet” by Dr. Seuss to the first graders of Laura Baker’s class. Bevin was participating in the school’s Read Across America program, which is a part of the National Education Association’s nationwide event.

If elected governor, Bevin said one of his main issues of focus is education, which is why he enjoys events where he reads to children. 

“We have to make changes to our educational system,” he said. One of those changes is to reject the Common Core objectives from the federal government.“I don’t think it’s the solution for teaching them. The solution is to empower the local school boards. Empower the principals. Empower the teachers. Empower the local people.”

Bevin also said he was in favor of the right for parents to choose where and how to educate their children, whether it be through vocational programs, home schooling, or allowing their children to attend a school outside their area.

“I have nine children, and they are all home schooled,” he said. “It’s not the only option, and it isn’t the solution for everybody. Every child is different.”

One reason Bevin said the education system needs to be reformed is to give students marketable skills in the workplace. 

“Kentucky is losing out on a lot of employment opportunities because we don’t have an employable workforce,” he said.

Another way to attract businesses is to reform the tax code. “Corporate tax is too high, and personal income tax is too high,” he said. Both are causing businesses to look elsewhere when establishing themselves.

Bevin said he also wants to concentrate on smaller, family-owned businesses, especially when it comes to the problem of passing a business on to family members.

“We are one of six states that still have an inheritance tax. We are sticking it to our small farmers,” he said.

The inheritance tax is also why Kentucky doesn’t attract as many retirees, he said. People would rather retire to Florida or places where there is no inheritance tax.

Bevin said he is in favor of eliminating the inheritance tax completely.

Older Kentuckians also have an eye on the state’s crumbling retirement system.

“We have got to address the pension crisis,” he said. “Pension plans are severely underfunded.”