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Is Matt Bevin a new John Y. Brown?

Is Matt Bevin a new John Y. Brown?

The answer is yes-so far.

The campaign for governor, the glamour of the outsider, the attitude of their self assurance in life, and their roots as self made businessmen all point to how similar Matt Bevin and John Y. Brown are.

Brown beat Terry McBrayer, the selected candidate of Democratic Party insiders, (namely Governor Julian Carroll) to succeed his administration. McBrayer ran a traditional ground campaign with old party structure in rural counties.

Brown ran a fast paced power race as a self made businessman, with the themes (1) elect me to run state government as a business and (2) let's cut state government down in size. Brown, in many counties, would campaign with helicopters and his glamorous Miss America wife.

Bottom line, Brown won because he was the major disruptive force upon the 1979-80 political landscape. Beven won because he was the major disruptive campaign force in the 2015 political landscape. Both men tapped into a voter base who want change in government.

Both men are from the world of business. Both men campaigned on serious changes needed in Frankfort. Both men are above their party structures and do not need a status quo political state infrastructure to answer to.

But as Brown found out, winning the office of Governor was very different than making the bureaucracy of Frankfort bend to his will. After two years, Brown broke the spirit of Frankfort by firing 10,000 state employees. He did this just as Wendell Ford did in 1972; he reorganized the structure of Kentucky state government.

By the end of Brown's tenure, Frankfort was a toxic zone filled with broken employees, ruptured state government agencies where much of the institutional memory and skills were destroyed. His hands off approach to legislative affairs gave rise to legislature with only tenuous ties to the Governor's Office. He wasn't able to get much through the General Assembly during his term in office.

The question is "Will Bevin control the disruptive force of vast change or will his administration become another Brown administration of lost future for Kentucky?"

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