House Speaker-elect Rep. Davy Carter (R-Cabot) would fit right in to a fast-paced, energized Mountain Dew commercial – as a matter of fact, it might best describe the full court press style of leadership he’ll display in the upcoming legislative session.
Carter, appearing Sunday night on Talk Business, said this week’s orientation with 40 new incoming House members was productive and frenzied.
“My personality is that I take off, I run,” Carter said. “I’m not an iron fist guy. I’m out in front pushing hard. You’ll probably think I’m juiced up on Mountain Dew every day during the session, but I’ll be running hard and we have to. We have a short window of time to get the work done in the session.”
The 37-year old Carter is a banker and a lawyer. The third-term Republican shocked the political establishment and his own party by challenging expected House Speaker Rep. Terry Rice (R-Waldron) three weeks ago for the House’s top post. Rice was expected to assume the post after Republicans took control of the 100-member House with 51 representatives and ousted Rep. Darrin Williams (D-Little Rock) as Speaker-elect.
As the outgoing chairman of the House Revenue and Tax Committee, Carter was a part of Speaker Robert Moore’s (D-Arkansas City) leadership team in the 2011 session.
In 2013, Carter sees tax reform on the agenda, but it will come after answers and solutions to the state’s Medicaid shortfall and potential expansion are addressed.
“Medicaid is by far the number one issue that we’re facing,” he said. “I do not know the answers. I don’t think anybody in the body will tell you that they know the answers and how to solve that problem. It will drive the debate not only about Medicaid and inherently how we solve the problem, but tangentially it will drive debate on tax policy and budgeting because of the enormous amount of money that we spend and the big shortfall we see right now.”
Carter said members are frustrated right now because there is not a complete understanding of the rules and regs tied to Medicaid expansion and health care reform. That limits legislators from deciding “what can we do, what can’t we do.”
The Speaker-elect commented on other subjects, including drug testing and co-pays for health care and potential tax reform on groceries, capital gains and income taxes.
Watch his full interview below.