Arkansas House District 97: Ballinger and Miller

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 119 views 

The primary battle for the GOP nomination to the Arkansas House of Representatives District 97 pits candidates Bob Ballinger and Jeremy Miller against one another in a contest between two candidates with unique experiences within the district's business and economic development climates.

The City Wire recently spoke with Ballinger and Miller about what makes each the best candidate for the position. Ballinger focused on his experience as a school teacher, Chamber of Commerce president, and father of five, while Miller emphasized his agricultural business experience and homegrown roots within the district. Both agreed the economy is the biggest issue their district faces.

Concerning the biggest issue the 89th General Assembly will face in 2013, both cited Medicaid with Miller choosing it as number one. Ballinger, however, feels that the "propensity of our state government to grow and spend" is a more pressing matter.

Both candidates participated in a political survey from The City Wire. Full responses are listed below.

Bob Ballinger
• Why are you the better candidate for the position?
God has allowed me the privilege to experience much in my professional, civic, and family life that prepared me to serve this district. I helped thousands of individuals and businesses navigate through complex issues. I labored as a school teacher, working with students and parents to help develop productive citizens. As Chamber of Commerce President, and on the Berryville Economic Development Commission, I worked to grow the local economy and develop jobs. And finally, I know what it is to struggle to raise up 5 children on a limited budget and in a society that is experiencing moral decay.

• What is the number one issue within your district?
Individual’s personal economy is an issue on everyone’s minds. Many are without work, others are uncertain of the future of their businesses and farms, and many suffer from wages too low to ever get ahead. People on fixed incomes want to know how they will pay the bills and buy groceries as the price of necessities increase. People want to know that elected officials care that they have these struggles, and they want to know that there is a plan to improve the economy of the district.

• What is the top issue the 2013-2014 Arkansas General Assembly will face?
Many political commentators and people in Little Rock see the projected Medicaid shortfall as the most pressing issue, and it is an issue that must be addressed. However, a more fundamental problem is the propensity of our state government to grow and spend. To get larger and larger, more expensive and more intruding into our lives. If we will fix government waste and reduce restricting and cumbersome regulations, our issues with the Medicaid shortfall will be resolved. A growing economy puts people to work and putting people to work gets individuals off Medicaid.

Jeremy Miller
• Why are you the better candidate for the position?
District 97 is my home. Today I continue operate the hay business I started here when I was 18.  My Dad and I also operate a beef operation on my childhood farm. I have also owned and managed a convenience and feed store for the past ten years. My daily contact with the public enables me to hear peoples’ opinions, frustrations, successes and failures. My background makes me uniquely qualified to represent District 97. I will take the message of my district to Little Rock and work on changes to positively impact the opportunities of today’s workers and future generations.

• What is the number one issue within your district?
I believe the economy is the number one issue in District 97. I feel my Ag Business degree as well as my personal business experience will allow me to have innovative ideas on changing tax structures and regulation reform to move Arkansas forward on economic development.

• What is the top issue the 2013-2014 Arkansas General Assembly will face?
The growth in Medicaid expense will be the number one issue in 2013 session. There could be as much as a $400 million shortage in state supplied funds. This will be a complex problem with many aspects involved. We will be looking at a variety of solutions including cost cutting measures, coverage changes, increased fraud oversight, as well as possibly looking at general funds to try and determine a workable long term solution.