Democrats have potential challenger to Rick Crawford in 1st District | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Democrats have potential challenger to Rick Crawford in 1st District

Posted By on Thu, Jun 8, 2017 at 7:58 AM

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Jim Huff of Wynne, an analyst for St. Jude's hospital in Memphis and former Wynne alderman, tells me he's exploring a challenge to 1st District Republican U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford.

Health care is at the top of his reasons for running.

Huff, 36 who lost a Wynne alderman re-election race in November by 50 votes, has a political lineage. His grandfather, Jim Shaver, was a House speaker and his great-grandfather, Bex Shaver, was a senator and lieutenant governor. Those were different times in terms of partisan makeup of the legislature, of course.

Democratic candidates have emerged already for both the 2nd and 3rd District seats held by Republicans and more are talking about the 2nd District race, particularly. Democrats fielded only one congressional candidate for Arkansas's four seats in 2016.

Huff, a UA graduate with an MBA from George Washington, has circulated a statement explaining his interest in a challenge of Crawford. It's a good template for a Democratic candidate from East Arkansas, if health care, farm supports and Delta Regional Authority development efforts matter to voters. It follows:

It’s my current assessment that Representative Rick Crawford has lost his objectivity in deciding between what is right for the First Congressional District or his political party, which casts doubt on his ability to lead with clarity.

First, Rep. Crawford voted for a highly unpopular healthcare replacement bill without knowing the ramifications beforehand. His party needed his vote but his constituents needed access to insurance more. Unfortunately, he chose to side with his party. The CBO-scored bill Rep. Crawford voted for found that 23 million Americans will lose coverage by 2026 and end Medicaid Expansion, a program that has insured hundreds of thousand of Arkansans.

Secondly, Rep. Crawford and President Trump have not provided sufficient leadership. The President ran a campaign to give voice to forgotten rural Americans but his budget either slashes or eliminates several programs that these individuals rely on every day. Among the most deeply affected by these cuts will be our hardworking farmers. Recent declines in market prices and increases in input prices squeeze farmers more and more every year. Additional cuts like a 21% cut to the USDA and 36% cut to crop insurance is not in the best interest of our farmers in Arkansas or across the Nation.

Additionally, the President’s budget eliminates the Delta Regional Authority which is a program that has provided economic development opportunities to dozens of counties in the Delta and other states. Cuts to farmers safety nets and eliminating economic development opportunities is not a winning recipe for rural Arkansas.

I have heard very little in the way of leadership from Rep. Crawford on how this budget or healthcare plan serves to make our state stronger or healthier. Nor have I heard any plans from Rep. Crawford on how to provide stability in our government in these uncertain times. The voters of the First Congressional district sent him to Washington to help get our country back on track. Since he’s been there, things have only gotten worse. Our district deserves a leader who will fight to protect us from bad policies despite political ramifications. It’s time to elect a more determined leader who will stand up for all of the people who live here.

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