Delta Caucus criticizes Tom Cotton for skipping meeting | Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 31, 2014

Delta Caucus criticizes Tom Cotton for skipping meeting

Posted By on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 at 6:27 AM

U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, the Republican Senate candidate, declined to attend a meeting yesterday and today in Helena of the Delta Caucus, the only one of nine invited political leaders from two states who didn't make an appearance.

Lee Powell, director of the Caucus, said Cotton had declined to speak even by call-in to the grassroots organization, citing scheduling conflicts, and his letter to the group failed to address key issues.

Four Republicans and four Democrats are appearing — Mike Ross, Asa Hutchinson, Congressman Rick Crawford, 1st District nominee Mayor Jackie McPherson of Heber Springs, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), Rep. Travis Childers (D-MS), Sen. John Boozman, and Sen. Mark Pryor. Pryor spoke by Skype on Thursday and will come by in person this afternoon.

The Caucus said in a prepared release:

“When all we asked was for him to pick up the phone and make a presentation at any point at his convenience over an entire two-day period, citing scheduling issues is not an excuse. If the letter had been in-depth and addressed specific issues of deep concern to the people of the Delta it might have been somewhat useful, although the other candidates all had time to speak live; but the letter we received was basically generalized rhetoric with little substance,” said Lee Powell, Caucus Director

… Rep. Mark McElroy said “The letter sent by Rep. Cotton did not address issues that the grassroots coalition is focusing on at this conference such as the private option health care plan, women’s issues, investments in transportation improvements including I-69 to create jobs and repair our deteriorating infrastructure, the Delta Queen bill, the minimum wage, and other vital issues. If he were here to have a dialogue with us he could have clarified and explained his positions, but sending a letter with so little substance did not mean much.”

Powell said “There was one comment in the letter that surprised us, because in a section on education, it stated that education reform is a top priority and “I believe the steps outlined in the Delta Regional Authority’s recent “Re-Imagining Workforce Development’ are a good place to start.” It was about five months ago that Congressman Cotton was calling for the abolition of the Delta Regional Authority and other regional commissions, so does this mean he has changed his position? If so that is great news, but since he is not here to clarify the meaning of this statement we don’t know.”

The Caucus said Cotton's letter had a brief section on infrastructure that referred to the non-controversial Water Resource Development Act, but said nothing about spending on transportation, broadband and housing, all important in the Delta. 

The Caucus said it had even promised to Cotton not to put him on the spot with negative questions if he would participate by phone.

Truth: The Delta has long depended on infusions of federal spending. Tom Cotton is an unlikely supporter of most, if not all, of the categorical efforts to lift impoverished areas. Cotton has stops in Jonesboro, Mountain Home, Mountain View and Fayetteville today. Surely he could have gotten on the horn during road time with the Caucus.

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