From Jacob Kauffman with our content partner, KUAR FM 89.1 News:
With all the talk of the Senate and Governor’s races in Arkansas it’s easy to overlook the 38 contested races for the state House of Representatives. Republicans hold a slim majority in the Arkansas House, in fact it’s the narrowest in the nation. One race in Little Rock, like the other 37, could become the deciding vote in the state legislature.
Jim Sorvillo has been stopping for coffee at Guillermo’s Gourmet Grounds in his state House district in west Little Rock for several years now.
“These guys right here you know what I’m saying, they’re trying to make the business go,” said Sorvillo.
Sorvillo is the Republican candidate for State House District 32. He’s a retired ad man, but he’s no stranger to politics. He served as a Justice of the Peace and he lost a 2012 race for state Senate.
His opponent is Democrat John Adams, an executive at First Federal Bank and former assistant state Attorney General to Dustin McDaniel. Coincidentally, he also chose to meet at Guillermo’s in the northeast corner of district 32
“A lot of folks ranging from working and middle class Arkansans up to some fairly affluent areas. It’s fairly diverse, we have a lot of people that have moved in from other parts of the country and other parts of the world,” said Adams.
The political repercussions of who wins this coffee house extend beyond its relatively well-to-do corner of Little Rock. The next legislature could be looking at state-wide access to pre-K, prison overcrowding, broadband internet for public schools and the future of the state’s new health insurance program that provides coverage to over 200,000 low-income Arkansans – the so-called private option.
Democrat Adams knows how he would vote when the private option comes up next year.
“Well, I would vote to reauthorize the private option. I think given that we’ve managed in Arkansas to nearly cut the rate of uninsured in half I think it’s the right way forward. Especially for central Arkansas, we have so many people in the healthcare industry that are going to benefit from being able to have their patients come in, come in with insurance,” said Adams.
Republican Sorvillo is not so certain.
Sorvillo: I know that there are amendments that are being talked about and until I can see all of that I can’t make a reasonable decision.
Kauffman: As the program is right now would you support it?
Sorvillo: I would have to say to you I do not support Obamacare.
Sorvillo and Adams also weighed in on prison and public safety issues and UALR professor of political science Greg Shufeldt discusses dynamics in the battle for control of the statehouse.
Check out more of Kauffman’s report here.