Editor’s note: The City Wire will profile the 11 contested primary races for Arkansas House and Senate seats in the Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas areas. This link provides more detail on the candidates and legislative races in the two metro areas.
story by Aric Mitchell
The GOP nomination to Arkansas Senate District 9 pits candidate and former Rep. Rick Green, R-Van Buren, against incumbent Sen. Bruce Holland, R-Greenwood.
The primary election winner will face Rep. Tracy Pennartz, D-Fort Smith, in the general election.
The City Wire recently spoke with Green about what makes him the best candidate for the position. Green touted his past experience and accomplishments as a legislator, noting his status as one of the Top 10 Legislators of 2009, as decided by Talk Business magazine.
Green cited "new jobs and the fear of further job loss" as the biggest issues facing Senate District 9 for 2013. Concerning the biggest issue the 89th General Assembly will face, he wants to focus on the Medicaid shortfall, projected at around $400 million.
Green and Holland were approached by The City Wire to answer political surveys, prior to the primaries. Green's full responses are listed below. Holland did not respond to the survey.
• Why are you the better candidate for the position?
First, I have more experience in the Legislature having served six years in the Arkansas House of Representatives. During that time I was careful to always stay in touch by returning calls and emails to my constituents. This enabled me to know where my constituents stood on issues so that I always voted the wishes of my district. I have shown more personal maturity by making sure my personal life decisions and conduct are not reckless ones that bring embarrassment to my district and distract me from effective representation. Second, I have a proven record of accomplishments while serving in the Arkansas Legislature. I sponsored and brought home to District 9 the appropriations to begin the Regional Intermodal Transportation Authority (RITA). Talk Business Magazine listed me as one of their Top Ten Legislators in 2009 citing my work as a hard-working legislator and one that could work across the aisle with all legislators.
• What is the number one issue within your district?
The number one issue in Senate District 9 is new jobs and the fear of further job loss. This is why we have to continue to full court press the development of the intermodal river port, I-49, and rail expansion. The Arkansas River is one of our greatest natural resources and we are only beginning to recognize the future economic gain that if offers Western Arkansas. We have to convince existing and furture industry that there is no better location for new industry and industry expansion than in the Arkansas River Valley. We have to continue to rally our support to maintain the 188th Figther Wing in Fort Smith. We need to continue push regional support on both fronts and determine to accept change can be good for all and a win in one area is a win for the entire region.
• What is the top issue the 2013-2014 Arkansas General Assembly will face?
The shortfall in in the Medicaid program funding looms as the number one issue facing the 89th General Assembly in 2013. It will be virtually impossible not to have to consider cutting some services. I do believe that a combination of reform for misuse will help to some degree but the funding shortfall is just too great for reform to cover the entire difference. The Legislature will need to priotize the different areas of assistance and make sure that the truly needy recipients are the last to feel the pain of cuts. I generally believe that the elderly and small children should fall into the categories that are looked at last for funding cuts.