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'We're Getting Soft': Governor Criticizes Cold Weather School Closings

LEXINGTON, Ky. (CBS Local) -- Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said America is "getting soft" after hearing that some schools were closing in the Louisville area due to bitter cold weather.

Wind chill temperatures in the Louisville area were expected to drop as low as minus 20 degrees Wednesday and stay below zero most of the day.

Bevin made the comment Tuesday during an interview with Terry Meiners on NewsRadio 840 WHAS.

"Now we cancel school for cold, I mean..." said Bevin.

"It's a deep freeze! This is serious business," Meiners responded.

"C'mon now, I mean there's no ice going with it or any snow. I mean, what happens to America? We're getting soft Terry, we're getting soft," Bevin said.

Gov. Bevin says closing schools due to extreme cold is 'soft' by WLKY News Louisville on YouTube

Bevin told Meiners he was being "only slightly facetious" and that it was better to err on the side of safety, "but it does concern me a little bit that in America, 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 'til it stops being hard. And that just isn't reality. Just isn't."

The governor's comments drew criticism from both educators and political rivals.

Jessica Dueñas, a teacher at the W.E.B. Du Bois Academy in Louisville, challenged Bevin to "prove how 'hard' he is by standing outside for 30 minutes tomorrow morning as if he were waiting for a bus with less than adequate clothing, like many of (Kentucky's students) would have been due to their lack of resources."

And state Rep. Robert Goforth, who is challenging Bevin in the GOP gubernatorial primary, said the comments were "Easy for a guy to say who went to the (Gould Academy) - a $60k/yr prep school. I'm with KY's kids!"

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