Gov. Matt Bevin apologized Sunday for saying that teacher protests probably led to the sexual assault of children.
In an interview with a WDRB-TV television reporter on Friday, the Republican governor said he could guarantee that somewhere in Kentucky a child was sexually assaulted after being left home with no supervision because of the walkout.
Following widespread outrage over those remarks, Bevin has issued an apology, stating it wasn't his intent to hurt anyone.
"It's my responsibility to not only represent you not only when I'm speaking to you but when I'm speaking on your behalf in ways that are clear, that are understood, that don't hurt people", he said. He added, "I know a tremendous amount of people didn't fully appreciate what I was communicating".
Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, said Bevin had "needlessly and unjustly demonized" the thousands of teachers who went to Frankfort to support better funding of education.
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The response comes a day after the state's Republican-led House of Representatives approved a pair of resolutions condemning Bevin's comments - an act on the final day of the legislative session that the Associated Press described as "an extraordinary rebuke".
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It was then that Bevin claimed that the teachers' strike had led to children being left alone at home and that all manner of awful things befell them.
In his apology on Sunday, Bevin apologized several times and said that his remarks had been misunderstood.
Kentucky Education Association President Stephanie Winkler said she was "appalled" by Bevin's comment. The problem is that we're offended by what Bevin does, which is make life worse for the people who need government's help the most.
Bevin said in the video Sunday that he didn't intend to hurt anyone.
Democratic Rep. Attica Scott, of Louisville, called on Bevin to resign.
Friday's action saw more than 30 Kentucky school districts assemble to protest Bevin's recent veto of a two-year state budget that called for increased public education spending by way of a more than $480 million tax increase.
"In his apology, Bevin said", I appreciate so much that has been done in recent days and weeks as we've tried to get both our economic house in order but to make sure that we shore up the very pension system that now is the worst funded in the United States of America. "The teachers and public employees he has insulted over the past year deserve much more than this".