Kentucky Governor: ‘We’re Getting Soft’ For Closing Schools During Cold Weather
Matt Bevin, Kentucky's Governor, is reacting to the massive number of schools closed across a giant portion of the country due to the arctic cold of the Polar Vortex by saying the country is 'getting soft'. His reaction is getting a lot of attention around northern states in the country.
The Washington Post has taken Bevin's comments onto the national stage after he made a radio appearance on Kentucky radio station WHAS. In his interview (heard here), Governor Bevin reacted to an off the cuff comment from the show host about how his kids would be home from school due to the cold.
Governor Bevin lamented "now we cancel school for cold", going on to comment how there is no snow or ice to go along with this weather event, even after the show host pointed out that they are experiencing "deep freeze" temperatures for the area as cold as -15 degrees with the wind chill factored in. He questioned "What happened to America? We're getting soft".
He admitted that "It is better to air on the side of being safe", but Bevin went on to explain that it concerns him that "On this and any number of other fronts, we’re sending messages to our young people that if life is hard, you can curl up in the fetal position somewhere in a warm place and just wait until it stops being hard", going on to say that "just isn't reality".
For reference, Kentucky's statewide average temperatures in January are highs of around 40 degrees and lows of about 20 degrees, but this varies depending on what part of the state, and whether or not it is an area in the mountains. Wind chills during the Polar Vortex invasion into the country were expected to sink to near -20 in parts of Kentucky, which isn't nearly as cold as the -60 wind chills experienced in Minnesota, but is about 40 degrees colder than the normal Kentucky state low temperature average for January.
While Bevin seemed to speak in blanket terms about how he disagrees with the idea of closing schools for cold as a whole, it isn't clear if he was referring just to his opinions on Kentucky's school closings, or more broadly to include areas in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, where wind chill values sunk to between -30 and -60, prompting suspension of mail service and a number of businesses, schools, and organizations across the region.
A Kentucky teacher responded to Governor Bevin's comments on Twitter, saying the following:
In the same radio interview in which Governor Bevin discussed his thoughts about the cold-related school closings, he also addressed a heated ongoing fight with the Kentucky Education Association regarding pensions and an upcoming governor race in Kentucky, set for this November. Bevin, a Republican, has received negative feedback from members of both parties regarding his comments in the interview.
Bevin's comments, made Tuesday, came just one day before news that at least 7 people have died across the country due to the extreme cold so far, with at least another day of dangerous temperatures still anticipated across the midwest.