Breaking News
More () »

Kentucky GOP candidates share stage in first televised debate

Attorney General Daniel Cameron, Auditor Mike Harmon, Somerset Mayor Alan Keck and Agricultural Commissioner Ryan Quarles were on the stage.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Republican candidates in Kentucky's gubernatorial race shared the stage for the first time Tuesday afternoon.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron, Auditor Mike Harmon, Somerset Mayor Alan Keck and Agricultural Commissioner Ryan Quarles took part in the debate broadcasted on Spectrum News 1.

Republican candidate Kelly Craft did not join in the debate.

They answered questions on topics ranging from Kentucky's teacher shortage, the opioid epidemic and legalizing medical marijuana.

Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order allowing eligible patients to possess medical marijuana but legalization efforts have stalled in the General Assembly.

"I'm open to having this conversation and if we have members of our law enforcement community, folks in the medical field as well, that come to the table and have this conversation, and if they say they can get around a framework that is responsible, if that came to my desk I would ultimately sign it," Cameron said.

Harmon mentioned that even if Kentucky passed a bill and made medical marijuana legal, "it's still illegal on the federal level, so that creates problems."

Keck said he's tired of Kentucky "being the last to the table."

"This is medicine and that's how we would pass it, and that's how we would regulate it. It's time, it's past time and candidly, I'm sick of Kentucky always being the last to the table. We've got to start winning again," he said. "This is a policy I think a majority of Kentuckians support."

Quarles has previously campaigned for the legalization of medical marijuana and doubled down on that stance during the debate.

"As a policy maker, I think we need to give those in a very narrow framework the opportunity to have the perceived benefits from medical cannabis. It could come from hemp as well, to allow them to do that," he said.

In a statement on Tuesday's debate, Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Colmon Elridge said the real winner of the debate was Beshear and "we heard a lot of noise and not a lot of substance, all meant to distract from the lack of plans to deliver real solutions for Kentuckians and their families."

Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.

Have a news tip? Email assign@whas11.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.

Before You Leave, Check This Out