Two of the three Democrats vying for the First District Congressional nomination have been profiled on our newest radio partner, KASU-91.9 FM.
Democrats Clark Hall, Gary Latanich, and Scott Ellington are all pursuing the party’s nomination to challenge incumbent Republican Cong. Rick Crawford.
Hall and Latanich are the first profiled by KASU’s Jonathan Reaves. Hall, a farmer from Marvell, is term-limited as a State Representative. Latanich is an economics professor at Arkansas State University.
Here are some excerpts from each interview.
Rep. Clark Hall (D-Marvell)
On experience: I’ve had a lifelong experience of having to make tough choices to move not only my business along, but my family and I’ve had the honor of serving as a part-time mayor of a small town. I’ve had the experience of having to balance budgets and provide services that citizens expect and need and learning how to work with people who have different ideas and different interests who are solutions to the problems.
On jobs: If we’re going to create a long-term revitalization of our country, we must invest in our educational system. We must create an educational system that our children and grandchildren can not only grow up and be prosperous and have the training and knowledge of where we want to go in this country.
We’ve also got to look at creating infrastructure opportunity to move this country forward and at the same time creating jobs we need. And we also must be aware, we certainly must be aware, that in the First Congressional District, we are agricultural-based community. I think in the next year, the next generation, we’re going to have a golden opportunity to create economic opportunities to create jobs in our area and our district.
Hall offers more thoughts on his reasons for running. You can listen to his interview from KASU at this link.
On the debt and deficit spending: The debt is a difficult subject. The Republicans have framed it as ‘debt is bad’ and they really misunderstand the entire concept. Debt is one side, assets is the other. The size of the debt is not the problem for us in the short-run. During WWII, debt-to-GDP ratios grew much higher and the level of government spending is what took us out of the depression. Today, we’re worrying too soon, prematurely, about debt. We need to get the economy back to full employment and then look at the size of the debt when we have tax collections up and at that point decide if there needs to be a long-run change in deficits and deficit reduction. In the short run, deficits and debt reduction should not be our focus. Its misguided and counter-productive.
On health care reform: I think personally that the health care act is a wonderful piece of legislation. I mean most people get trapped in looking at the details. The real issue here is 50 million Americans had no insurance and the premiums were beyond their ability to do it. In its simplest form, all the health care plan is a scale, a sliding scale of subsidies to people who don’t have insurance. And to the extent that they can afford a portion — that will be determined by the subsidy — the government will act as the employer, and step in where the employer at one time was but no longer is, and provide the bulk of it. And so all of us will have insurance, paying some premiums with our employer or our government picking up the rest. To me, its a wonderful program and it should be continually improved upon as time goes by.
Latanich shares more opinions on jobs, energy and his reasons for running. You can listen to more of his interview from KASU at this link.
When Ellington is interviewed, we’ll highlight his positions too.