Arkansas House District 85: Rice and Whitaker

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 104 views 

The primary battle for the Democratic nomination to the Arkansas House of Representatives District 85 pits challengers Maylon Rice and David Whitaker against one another in a contest for the seat that once belonged to Uvalde Lindsey, who is running in a non-contested race for Senate District 4.

Rice and Whitaker were asked about what makes each the best candidate for the position.

Rice touted his previous work experience as a newspaper reporter and "employment specialist" along with his status as a small business owner as reasons, while Whitaker believes he's the "only candidate … to present a positive, progressive vision for the future." Both candidates believe "jobs" and "economic development" are the most important issues facing District 85.

But while the economy may be the district's biggest issue, Rice and Whitaker agree that a $400 million Medicaid shortfall is the top priority for the 89th General Assembly in 2013. The two candidates participated in a recent political questionnaire offered by The City Wire. Full responses are below.

Maylon Rice
• Why are you the better candidate for the position?
I am the better candidate for the position, in that I have prepared myself for this responsibility with various jobs and positions I have already held in this community. I have been a newspaper reporter and columnist, an employment specialist with a major employer in NW Arkansas, and now I run a small business, the Boston Mountain Solid Waste District. I am an "Arkansas Democrat" with the work-it-out ability "to reach across the aisle to the other party" on bills that will be good for business and progress in NW Arkansas and the River Valley.

• What is the number one issue within your district?
The number one issue in every district in Arkansas is jobs. Keeping good paying jobs in our communities is paramount. We must find and assist those companies that want to bring well paying jobs to Arkansas. We must keep those firms here who have provided employment for our citizens. We must, as a state, work to keep jobs for the future generations. We need a safe workplace, a "Green" workplace and long term jobs that can withstand the pressures of a corporation leaving the USA  for temporary profits – by providing a well trained work force that is ready to work.

• What is the top issue the 2013-2014 Arkansas General Assembly will face?
The top issue the 2013-2014 Legislature will face is Medicare/Medicaid funding. There will be intense pressure to debate this federally mandated program. While Legislators may argue about dollars, we should NEVER lose focus of who these programs help. We need to make sure that the poor, the elderly and the very young (infants and children, especially those born into poverty) do NOT get passed over in a partisan attempt to play politics. I will fight for common sense in this funding to protect the elderly, the very young and the poor in our State.

David Whitaker
• Why are you the better candidate for the position?
I am the only candidate in this race to present a positive, progressive vision for the future of District 85 and Arkansas. I also have nearly a decade of experience working with local governments and school districts on a wide range of issues, and will represent the interests of my constituents above all else.

• What is the number one issue within your district?
Without a doubt, economic development to achieve job growth is the most frequently mentioned issue in my conversations with the voters of District 85.

• What is the top issue the 2013-2014 Arkansas General Assembly will face?
Whether we like it or not, the biggest issue facing the 89th General Assembly when it convenes in January 2013 is the projected Medicaid funding shortfall. It is going to take a lot of hard work and statesmanship to craft a long-term, responsible solution to this problem.