Republicans in Arkansas will gather this weekend in Hot Springs to take care of their party's business at the state convention and also to hear from various speakers.
The weekend event kicked off earlier Friday afternoon at a special meeting to nominate someone to replace the vacancy left by the passing of Tommy Caubble. As first reported by the Tolbert Report, Wynne businessman Ronald Caldwell is seeking this position. He will be certified along with the other Republican candidates at the state convention tomorrow.
Also this afternoon, the party platform committee met to consider any changes to the platform that will be submitted to the state convention delegates at tomorrow's convention. A copy of the proposed platform was circulated earlier this month and can be found here. Highlights include…
- Support for development of a Regional Economic Development Plan to expand our state's manufacturing base and provide new opportunities for service sector jobs
- Support for Tort Reform to improve the environment for business growth and expansion through an amendment to the State Constitution
- Re-authorization of the Farm Bill to provide an adequate safety net for Arkansas' farmers
- Legislation requiring the presentation of a government-issued photo ID with current address should also be required at polling places
- Support for the Electoral College process as it presently exists and oppose modifications that would alter or diminish its role in electing the President
- Support for a Federal Balanced Budget Amendment
- Federal tax reform, including elimination of the personal income tax, reduction of capital gain taxes, reduction of taxes on Social Security income, and repeal of the estate tax
- State tax reform, including replacing the state income tax with
an increase in the state sales tax of no more than two percenta more equitable tax system, exemption of retirement income from state income taxes, elimination
of the political contribution credit, expansion of the tuition deduction, and dedication General Improvement Funds (GIF) to “critical state-wide needs such as Arkansas prisons, water resource development, highways, higher education, and other critical needs, thus eliminating most pork barrel projects from state funding.”
- Support for a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and opposition to any taxpayer funds being used for abortion specifically as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
- Support for Second Amendment right and specifically a national “right-to-carry” law
- Support for the right of the individual to pray in all public schools and positions that permit references to God in all school functions including athletic activities and graduations
- Support for the traditional definition of marriage as a God-ordained, legal and moral commitment between a man and a woman
- Repeal of Obamacare
Changes could be made at the Platform Committee meeting on Friday before the final presentation to the Convention tomorrow.
On Friday evening, Republicans will host their 2012 Reagan-Rockefeller Dinner with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the Hot Springs Convention Center. Jindal has become a leading surrogate for Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney and is often mentioned as a potential running mate.
“Gov. Jindal has done an excellent job in putting forth bold conservative reform in areas such as ethics, tax reduction, education and health care. He is a proven leader who has overcome crisis and continues to set an example of what Americans can aspire to,” said RPA Chairman Doyle Webb.
The state convention will meet tomorrow at the Hot Springs Convention Center starting with registration at 9:00 am, a morning session at 10:00 am, and an afternoon session at 1: 00 pm. In addition to considering the state party platform, they will elect the Republican Presidential Electors, certify the list of Republican candidates, and hear from both federal and state elected candidates.
A full agenda can be found here.
UPDATE – I was not able to make it but I am told several hundred delegates attended and room was packed. That's a pretty good sign on Republicans on the 2012 enthuasism front.
Here is the final version of the party platform they approved. Some changes were made from the version posted above.