Thank you for your interest in my candidacy for the office of Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas. Let me cut to the chase. Every election campaign is about answering a simple question…. Why? Why vote for this person and not another? Why is this person the best for the job? Why does this person even want this job? So, please allow me to start answering those questions for you. I am going to start with the last question, because I think it also answers much of the first two questions.
Why do I want this job? Well, there are several reasons. First, I love this state and its people. It is no secret that I grew up north of here. As a young man I entered the US Naval Academy and during my Navy service my new wife, Leeann, and I moved around a lot. We got to see a good chunk of the world and the nation. I left the Navy and entered the business world, working for Procter and Gamble in Ohio. We got transferred to Arkansas and I will admit we didn’t know what to expect. Wow! I and my then young family fell in love with the place. Perhaps because we had seen lots of other places, Leeann and I quickly realized that this was not just another way station, but the place where we had to be. The place to raise our kids. The place for us to settle down and grow roots. And that’s what we did. My oldest daughter, Jordan, is a junior at the U of A Fayetteville. My triplets, two years old when they moved to Arkansas, are now in college.
I loved Arkansas right away, but little did I suspect that Arkansas was going to change me in some very important ways. I was fortunate. A great job. A great wife. Great kids. A great place to live. But something was still missing. Arkansas was the place where I accepted Christ into my life. Would that have happened elsewhere? I don’t know, but I do know that this is place where he did reach me and where I was meant to be. Arkansas and its people touched my soul and made me a better father, a better husband, and a better man. I feel indebted to Arkansas and its people. So, in part to discharge that debt, I want to serve our state, just as I once served our country in the Navy.
I love Arkansas but things could be even better here. In the state legislature and as chairman of the Revenue and Taxation committee, I am regarded as a numbers guy. And, with great difficulty, I am going to restrain myself from showering you with numbers. But this campaign, every campaign for state office this year is really about two numbers. Those two numbers are one-hundred-thirty-eight (138) and forty-nine (49). For 138 years this state had, for all intents and purposes, a monopoly on political power by the Democratic party. For 138 years, the Democratic party has promised great things to the people of Arkansas. So is Arkansas now a land flowing with milk and honey? Well, in some ways, yes. We are blessed with some of the richest farm and timber lands in the world. We are blessed with great mineral wealth in everything from the diamonds that we use as a symbol on our flag, energy sources such as natural gas and oil, to being the leading producer in Western hemisphere of Bromine, a seemingly obscure chemical worth nearly a billion dollars a year. We have been blessed with some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, blessed with two great rivers that carry the commerce of the nation through or right beside our state, blessed with being in the middle of the greatest nation in the world, …blessed beyond measure. So with all these great things given to us by the Lord, in their 138 years in power, our Democratic leaders have built on this and we are…49th. Not always literally, but let us not kid ourselves. We are one of the poorest states in the nation. And why? Remember that question, why?? Why are we 49th? Is it because Democrats haven’t had enough time to implement their ideas, their philosophy of government? One…Hundred…Thirty…Eight. Is it because our state is poor in resources? Obviously not. Is it because we Arkansans are stupid? Absolutely not.
We have been blessed yet again with some of the most gifted business people in the world. Figures like Sam Walton, Don Tyson, JB Hunt, Jack Stephens, Charles Murphy, and William Dillard grew businesses that their equally talented families continue to grow. But their success was not because of the state government; it was in spite of it. In my opinion, the greatest problem facing Arkansas is the lack of economic opportunity. We need Good Jobs NOW. Government does not create jobs, government does not create wealth. But government does set the climate that fosters or hinders economic opportunity. Small businesses all over the state are run by some very smart people hoping to be the next Tyson, the next Stephens. Instead of fostering the growth of jobs, in 138 years the Democratic party has grown our overall tax burden to the fourth highest in the nation as a percentage of our income. Democrat leaders set income tax, the tax on work, to the highest in our region. Democrat politicians have presided for 138 years over failing school systems that have left too many of our children ill equipped for the Good Jobs of the future. Democrat elites for 138 years have been content for Arkansas to be near the bottom in the percentage of people with college degrees. Democratic control, after 138 years has left Arkansas leading in negatives, like poverty.
But…Things are changing in Arkansas. Why do I want this job?? Because, the people of Arkansas deserve better. The people of Arkansas want better. The people of Arkansas can get better…Better educations…Better jobs…Better government. My passion is to make things better for the people of Arkansas. And things are changing. I was privileged to serve in the first legislature controlled by conservatives in 138 years. We cut, for the first time ever, the income tax, which had previously only been increased. We imposed limits and reviews on expensive government regulations. Great first steps to move us away from 49th. But why do I want this particular job, Lieutenant Governor? Because I am convinced that this next election the people of Arkansas will finish what they have started and put a Republican team in place to give them a better government, to equip their children with better educations, to provide them personal and economic freedom, to set the conditions for Good Jobs. I want to be a part of that team and I think that my background in the military, in business, and in government has prepared me to fill an important role in bringing this agenda to life as Lieutenant Governor. I will not, in other words, be a passive office holder. I pledge to work with our next Republican Governor and to work with our next Republican legislature to help craft the practical details of legislation needed to make our great state better still. To help pass that legislation (and believe me, that isn’t always easy). And then to work actively as part of the team to implement the changes needed to turn the state government around.
So, to that first question, why vote for me and not somebody else? Experience, passion, commitment, conservative principles. I humbly ask you to consider my qualifications in these areas. And then, I ask you for your support. Please, let me serve you.
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