Wednesday, September 26, 2012

4th District candidates 'debate'

Posted By on Wed, Sep 26, 2012 at 6:23 AM

FOUR FOR THE FOURTH: Democrat Gene Jeffress makes a point at Tuesdays forum.
  • Julie Alexander
  • FOUR FOR THE FOURTH: Democrat Gene Jeffress makes a point at Tuesday's forum.

Cal Wasson provided the report on the jump of a Hot Springs forum last night featuring the four candidates for 4th District Congress, a seat being vacated by Rep. Mike Ross. He notes that questions were posed in advance, which meant prepared responses rather than a free-flowing debate. Democrat Gene Jeffress differed from Republican Tom Cotton on health care legislation. He suggested the federal law is a starting point; Cotton has from the beginning of his campaign backed complete repeal. (A punishing and probably impossible promise, but popular with the crowd that gathered last night.) Green candidate Josh Drake gave a ringing endorsement of universal health care.

BY CAL WASSON

Party lines were mostly obvious as candidates traded talking points at a debate Tuesday night at National Park Community College in Hot Springs. State and federal candidates spoke.

Republicans called for more tax cuts, fewer regulations and were nearly unanimous in calling for rejection of the Affordable Care Act. Democrats claimed improving health and employment opportunities under the President and Governor Beebe while Green Party and Libertarian candidates tossed verbal grenades.

The candidates were told the questions in advance and the format stifled true debate. Most of the responses were read.

All four Fourth District Congressional candidates were there with four distinct agendas. Asked about gas prices Republican Tom Cotton of Dardanelle in a rapid fire staccato called for more drilling, lower taxes and fewer regulations. State Sen. Gene Jeffress of Louann, a Democrat, has been questioning Harvard-educated lawyer Cotton's Arkansas credentials and he emphasized that again with a series of Arkansas and gas price anecdotes. The boldest statement came from retired legislator Bobby Tullis of Howard County who is running under the Libertarian Party. Tullis drew surprising applause from the Republican-stacked crowd by saying that whatever happens to gas prices, "we should never again shed our blood in the Middle East for oil.

Cotton's biggest applause line was his call for the repeal of "Obamacare," a sentiment shared by Tullis. The question was whether health care is a right, a privilege or a service. Jeffress responded by telling how his parents died at an early age, and how his constituents have died because of poor access to health care and how the new health care program would have saved them. He concluded that right or privilege, "It's the Christian thing to do". The only clear answer came from Green Party candidate Josh Drake of Hot Springs who firmly stated "Health care is a right and it should be a national priority." He said the cost of the Iraq war alone would have paid for health care for the entire nation.

State legislative candidates fielded health care questions along fairly rigid party lines. Republicans claim the state cannot afford to expand it's Medicaid program while Democrats say it can't afford not to. A fresh idea did come from District 13 Senate candidate Frank Gilbert of Tull, a Libertarian: Sell War memorial stadium.

Everyone called for more and better jobs but few had fresh plans on how to get them. Republicans called lower business taxes, lower environmental standards, less regulation. Democrats had less cohesion on jobs but generally favored better education and public sector employment.

Tags: , , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Monticello preparing for KKK rally

    Drew County authorities are taking precautions, but also watching their words, about apparent plans for a Ku Klux Klan meeting Saturday.
    • Jul 22, 2015
  • Arkansan on Obama's latest commutation list

    President Obama today announced commutations of the sentences of 111 federal prisoners, including one from Arkansas.
    • Aug 30, 2016
  • Matt Campbell files ethics complaint against Dennis Milligan

    Little Rock attorney and blogger Matt Campbell, whose knack for deep research brought down Mark Darr, Mike Maggio and Dexter Suggs, now has his sights trained on another worthy target. Today, he filed a 113-page ethics complaint against state Treasurer Dennis Milligan that includes 14 separate allegations.
    • Aug 20, 2015

Most Shared

  • UPDATE: Retired Arkansas Arts Center director Townsend Wolfe dies at 81

    Townsend Durant Wolfe, III, retired director and chief curator of the Arkansas Arts Center, has died at 81.
  • Subpoenas identify names of federal interest in kickback probe

    The Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District today provided me with the subpoena it received from federal investigators in a probe that led to former Republican Rep. Micah Neal's guilty plea to taking kickbacks from money he guided to a nonprofit agency and a private college in Springdale, apparently Ecclesia College.
  • Human Services says it's eliminated Medicaid application backlog

    The state Human Services Department has informed Gov. Asa Hutchinson that it has all but eliminated a backlog in applications for Medicaid coverage.
  • Praising Asa

    Let us now praise the governor for a starkly moderate record, at least in comparison with other red-state executives.
  • Glass houses

    Having gotten a deep security briefing and probably a confidential glimpse of our own vast cyberspying operation, Donald Trump is no longer pretty sure that the Kremlin didn't hack Democratic computers or employ other tactics to help his election.

Visit Arkansas

Indian Rock House at Fairfield Bay

Indian Rock House at Fairfield Bay

Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation