U.S. Representative, District 3
Josh Mahony (Democrat) emphasized quality education with access to learning trades, better jobs available to all, affordable housing and better healthcare, including the public option.
Michael Kalagais (Libertarian) stated he was running for office because the public deserves better. There is too much debt and the problem is growing and it leaves too little for projects “we want to accomplish.” He would not vote for any budget which is not balanced or any bill which adds to the debt.
Current Rep. Steve Womack chose not to attend.
Mike Lee (Democrat) has experience in consumer safety issues and would be “the peoples’ lawyer.” He would not let politics or his personal agenda enter into his decisions but would be a watchdog over corruption because too many Arkansas politicians have been indicted. He will introduce a “Strength in Ethics” package to the legislature in January.
Frank Gilbert (Libertarian) announced, “I am not a Democrat, I am not a Republican and I am not for sale.” There have been too many elected officials indicted for corruption, and we do not know how many more corrupt politicians there are, “and that’s embarrassing.” He learned in the military everybody must contribute, but stated the Arkansas National Guard should never leave Arkansas unless national security was being threatened.
Arkansas State Senate
Bob Ballinger stated the government is better when the public is engaged. He said his job is to yield his will and listen to his constituents.
Jim Wallace was a university level arts teacher who “might be the first state senator in Arkansas to have a Master of Fine Arts degree.” He wants to bring a higher level of compassion and responsibility to state politics. His primary issues are improving education, providing better health care and emergency health care and taking care of our infrastructure.
Arkansas State Representative, District 97
Gary Morris (Democrat) read “An Ode to Arkansas’ Future,” a poem which detailed his priorities for governing. He called out scandal, disparity between rich and poor, unfair tax cuts, an unbalanced healthcare system and stated together we can make HOG – honest open government – more than just a dream.
Harlan Breaux (Republican) spent his career in insurance and the aluminum industry, and believes God has prepared him for what he wants to do right now which is make a difference in Arkansas. He sees the local economy is not operating near its potential. He said he was passionate about protecting life, marriage and gun rights. He uses his Bible as guide for making decisions.
They were asked about their positions on the Second Amendment and arming schoolteachers. Morris said he believes in responsible gun ownership, but is against a mandate to have guns on public school campuses. Breaux said he was all for the Second Amendment and protecting families. He ascribed the problems we have faced in gun situations to mental health problems.
Regarding universal health care, Breaux is not for it. He instead endorsed insurance programs that mandate those who can work must work.
Morris said he debated many times back in the 1960s expanding Social Security to include universal health care. He said it must implemented responsibly, but “a healthy state is a wealthy state.”