I don’t plan to make many endorsements over the next month leading up to the 2012 election. My basic guidelines for deciding whether to endorse a candidate is (1) if there is a clear choice in the election and (2) if my endorsement will make a difference in the race.
The race between Rep. James McLean (D) and former Rep. Charlie Fuqua (R) in District 63 (Batesville) meet this criteria and I am proud to endorse McLean for his re-election to serve the people of Independence County.
McLean brings four years of experience working in the House of Representatives where he has stood out as someone who is willing to reach across party lines to do what is best for his district and for Arkansas.
McLean was the lead House sponsor on the Arkansas Financial Transparency Act, which put all of the state’s expenses online for anyone to search. McLean worked with Republicans Sen. Jonathan Dismang and Lt. Gov. Mark Darr to get this legislation passed because he believes in government transparency. The new law moved Arkansas from an F to B in our state government’s transparency rating from the Sunshine Review. His support was pivotal in getting this through the House and generating support within his party.
McLean also asks the tough questions even when it is uncomfortable to do so. When questions came up about legislators having committee meetings in Fayetteville on the same weekends as Razorback games, McLean spoke up against it and stood up in spite of support for the meetings within his own party.
It is also no secret that McLean is one of the most conservative members of the Democratic Party in Arkansas. He is pro-life. He has received an A rating and the endorsement of the NRA. He is for reducing the size of government and lowering the tax burden on Arkansans, which has earned him support from the fiscal conservative group Americans for Prosperity.
In spite of his party label, McLean will represent the conservative views of his district. Regardless of which party is the majority party in the House next year, McLean will continue to be a pivotal force in creating bipartisan solutions. His opponent Fuqua will not.
Fuqua’s extremest views are so far out of the mainstream that he is unfit for office.
He openly advocated in a book he wrote for expelling all Muslims from the United States, execution of criminals after two year of failing to rehabilitate them, and even allowing parents to execute their children for disobedience. These views are dangerous and will hinder Fuqua being able to represent his district.
The voters of District 63 – Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike – would be wise to return Rep. James McLean to the House where he will continue to fight for them and for Arkansas.