U.S. Senate candidate Eldridge visits Northeast Arkansas, criticizes Congress

by Michael Wilkey ([email protected]) 53 views 

During a campaign stop Tuesday (Nov. 3) in Jonesboro, Conner Eldridge said he believes the nation faces a poisonous dose of partisanship. The Democratic candidate for the United States Senate said the debate in the nation’s capital is contentious while the process is broken.

Eldridge, who filed Monday along with Libertarian Frank Gilbert, said a recent budget vote in the Senate bears this out. They both face incumbent U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., who has said he will seek a second six-year term.

“Well, I think that, you know that the budget process that has been followed is completely broken. And we need, and it does not make any sense to have deals negotiated at the last minute behind closed doors,” Eldridge said. “We need thorough and open debate. And that is something I stand for and believe we need and intend to have during this campaign and as a Senator, intend to make a priority.”

While not saying how he would have voted on the budget bill, Eldridge said the issue is key.

“Well, you know, I think the budget process is broken and what I tell you is the principles that I can have would frame my consideration of future budget legislation,” Eldridge said. “There have been many budgets passed before and there will be more in the future. I would rather just discuss with you what the general principles I have and those are. We have to do something about our debt in a meaningful way. We have to do something about the deficit. And third, we have got to make sure that every dime of taxpayer money we spend, we spend in a way that makes sense and is efficient.”

The Senate voted 64-35 early Friday on the bill, with Sens. Boozman and Tom Cotton, R-Ark. voting no. Boozman said Friday the bill would increase spending and go against what he has done this year in the Senate.

“We’ve made real progress toward restoring regular order to the budgeting process by passing all 12 appropriations bills out of the committee this year in the Senate. Those 12 bills are what we should be considering, not this last-minute agreement crafted without input from most members,” Boozman said. “The deal once again busts the budget caps in place by allowing for billions of additional spending over the next two years, all of which will be added to our already massive national debt.”

On the Highway Bill, Eldridge said the debate over the issue is similar to the budget issue.

“It is an example of Washington not getting things done,” Eldridge said of the legislation, which was being debated Tuesday in the House.

In addition to the Jonesboro stop, Eldridge travelled to Paragould, Blytheville and West Memphis on Tuesday. Boozman will file for a second term on Nov. 9, his campaign said Monday.

As to criticism by Eldridge that Boozman is part of a Congress that is not doing anything, the Boozman campaign issued this response: “There is no finesse with Senator Boozman when it comes to the issues on the minds of the people of Arkansas. It is clear where the Senator stands by his votes against Planned Parenthood and against Obamacare. What is also clear is that his Democrat opponent straddles the fence on these tough issues and won’t tell Arkansans where he stands on anything.”

“As a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator Boozman has been working with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get a long-term highway bill to the President’s desk. He is pleased that the Senate passed a long-term solution in July, with his vote, and looks forward to House consideration of their bill this week. He is committed to working with his colleagues to pass a compromise bill once the House passes theirs.”