As the campaign season in Kentucky heats up, Democratic Governor Andy Beshear is under intense scrutiny. There are 12 Republican gubernatorial candidates this year, all vying to be the one who wins the governor’s mansion in November.
Ryan Quarles, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner, and former state legislator, are one of those candidates. He hasn’t been shy about his dissatisfaction with Beshear’s performance, particularly regarding the problems he attributes to the Biden administration’s open border policy and the governor’s refusal to address them.
Quarles stated in an interview conducted with him last week that he, like every other person in Kentucky, is acquainted with someone whose life has been negatively impacted by the drug epidemic. In his opinion, Andy Beshear’s unwillingness to confront the matter separates him from the families affected by this tragedy.
Beshear holds the highest office in Kentucky. Since it is well-known that fentanyl is entering the United States through the unobstructed Mexican border, Quarles stated that were he the governor; he would contact Texas Governor Greg Abbott and inquire what his state might do to help.
The governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear, supports President Joe Biden’s policies but fails to realize that despite the fact that the state is not on a border with any other country, narcotics are still flooding into the U.S. and border states are experiencing a crisis.
The fentanyl epidemic has affected Kentucky harder than almost any other state. According to state statistics, the substance caused 70% of the 2,250 deaths due to overdoses in 2021.
In 2022, the state’s death toll again topped 2,000, this time with four months still to go in the year, and 73% of those deaths were attributable to fentanyl. No conclusive report on drug overdose deaths in 2022 from the state has been made public yet.
The number of migrants encountered by authorities in December broke records by topping 250,000 for the first time, further exacerbating the already dire situation at the country’s borders. The previous high was 241,136 in May 2022.
Quarles said that as well as standing up to the Biden administration on their border policies and supporting border states to fight the crisis, he would make sure drug dealers were put in jail and the proper resources were provided for those battling addiction.
Quarles expressed that he understands the need for a second chance in life and would provide people suffering from addiction the resources and atmosphere to go through recovery so they can rejoin society.
Since President Biden has the most say in border policies, Quarles anticipates this being a prominent campaign issue. Also, Andy Beshear hasn’t done anything to challenge President Joe Biden’s open-borders policies.
Two of the eleven Republicans running against Quarles in the primary, former U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, are more known and have broader name recognition than Quarles.
When Quarles was asked how he planned to overcome that gap, he noted his two terms as agriculture commissioner, a state-wide elected position; his election to multiple terms in the Kentucky State House; and his support from the state’s farmers, who he says are solidly behind him.
Quarles stated that approximately 200 county judicial executives, general assembly members, and magistrates endorsed him across the state.
According to Quarles, his race stands out from others because he has the backing of the people. And these grassroots strengths and local endorsements will pay off in a primary race with low voter turnout, where it was expected to be only about 300,000, maybe 325,000 votes total, across the state.
Beshear’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment from the media.