A conservative Republican state lawmaker accused Democratic Attorney General Dustin McDaniel of "pandering to Hispanics" for the AG’s update of a Spanish language office web site.
State Rep. Jon Hubbard (R-Jonesboro) e-mailed McDaniel on July 12 asking the AG to explain the purpose of the Hispanic web site.
"Do you also plan to provide a similar service for all of the other nationalities in Arkansas, and if not, why? What is the cost to the people of Arkansas for this service? How is this any different from making the Arkansas Drivers License exam available in Spanish, while everyone else in our state must take this exam in English?," Hubbard asked.
In a follow up email on Monday (July 18), Hubbard copied other state legislators and a reporter for the Associated Press, which first reported the story.
In the second email, Hubbard said, "I cannot see any purpose for your pandering to Hispanics in Arkansas, whether it be to those here legally or illegally, unless you think that by doing so you might increase your chances of possibly winning their future vote? If this is your reason for doing so Mr. Attorney General, let me assure you that the good people of this state will see right through this, because in Arkansas, we have seen these tactics used many, many times before."
McDaniel replied later in the day by noting that the latest Census data shows there are 186,000 Latinos in Arkansas. "We have legal citizens of this state who pay taxes and serve in the military and also speak Spanish. Our website has been updated to include Spanish sections to better serve those citizens," he said.
McDaniel further stated that the Spanish version web site had been in existence for many years and updating the site was done by a Spanish-speaking member of his staff.
"It cost the taxpayers not one dime to include this service," McDaniel said. "In short, I find tour tone insulting and your premise to be without merit. I will refrain from characterizing your motivation, but one could easily infer that you are simply an angry, misguided person. I was proud to represent Jonesboro in The House seat you now occupy. Your lack of civility and substance, not limited to publishing my personal e mail address and blind copying the press on your e mail, make me embarassed that you represent our community."
McDaniel concluded, "No further comment on this issue is warranted, and your future angry emails will be forwarded to the press and will go unanswered."
That led to another response from Hubbard who faulted McDaniel for not joining a lawsuit to challenge "Obamacare."
"I can’t believe that you are so upset that I cc’ed the press, especially since you love to see your name in the news as often as possible," Hubbard replied. "Dustin, I regret that you are not as passionate about representing the people of Arkansas, as you are about proping up this person masquerading as POTUS."
[Editor’s note: POTUS is an abbreviation for President of the U.S.]
Hubbard is no stranger to incendiary rhetoric. He fired off public emails about Gov. Beebe in the legislative session, accusing Beebe of playing "dirty politics." He also accused Rep. Clark Hall (D-Marvell) of "playground bullying tactics" in the Congressional redistricting debate. Hall chaired the House State Agencies Committee, which reshaped Arkansas’ 4 federal legislative boundaries.
Hubbard, a first-term legislator, was among the least effective lawmakers in terms of passing legislation in the last session. He made efforts to pass a bill that would address illegal immigration in Arkansas. McDaniel’s office publicly opposed the measure in committee testimony on the grounds that it may have been unconstitutional and created expenses for the state to implement.
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