Second Congressional District Democrat State Sen. Joyce Elliott took part in a Talk Business & Politics-KATV forum a week ago answering questions from reporters and viewers for a full hour.
The forum was originally offered as a debate between Elliott and her opponent, GOP U.S. Rep. French Hill, who declined to participate. Both candidates were offered the opportunity to negotiate the date, time and format of the proposed debate.
The race between Hill and Elliott is tight. The most recent TB&P-Hendrix Poll showed Hill with 46% to Elliott’s 45.5%.
Elliott answered questions about her positions on a wide range of topics in the Q&A forum, including COVID-19, health care, the Green New Deal, changes to the Electoral College and Supreme Court composition, abortion, ballot initiatives and more.
“We need to be thinking about how do we come out of this pandemic and looking at how we can redo our infrastructure. That’s really important. It was important before COVID-19, before the pandemic. It still is. But we need to be sure, though, that we are doing that at the same time. That will build jobs for people. That will rebuild people, rebuild families at the same time. So, I think it’s just really important that we become focused laser-like on people rather than corporations in this next round of funding so that people can have some semblance of life and have some sustainability and stability in the next few months.”
On health care:
“I still support it [Affordable Care Act] because in Arkansas, for example, we’ve covered 300,000 more people. But I think we all knew when we first passed it, it was not everything it needed to be. And since that time, one of the big, I think, one of my big disappointments, Democrats and Republicans, is that we’ve said we were going to help fix it, and we haven’t done that.”
Elliott’s opponent voted for the American Health Care Act, which repealed the ACA. Elliott does not support the plan, which failed in the U.S. Senate.
“Some people referred to them as trash policies just because you were told, ‘Here is a plan,’ and there was a plan here, but it’s one that you could not, you just could not use because of the cost itself. It was far worse than anything anybody ever said about the ACA. So, it’s not enough to just say we have a policy if people cannot figure out a way to access it or the insurance companies are just doing whatever they wish to do, although you’re saying, ‘I will cover your pre-existing condition.'”
On the Green New Deal and climate change:
“I don’t support the Green New Deal. I do believe climate change is real and I do believe that we are moving to a time where green jobs are going to be the wave of the future. And I think where we have to be careful about it, because sometimes we’re a bit too flippant about it, we forget about people who have jobs that are not green jobs, and we need to be very careful that at the same time, if I say this is the wave of the future and we need it to have a sustainable country, there’s no question about that, to have different policies. But at the same time, you always hear me talking about balance a lot. I’m moving toward this, but I can’t be flippant about a person who has a job that is not a green job, and it might not even be good for the climate right now. We need to make sure we are weaning away from this in a way that a person does not feel threatened that I can’t support my family or that I am now going to have to be on public assistance. So, I think we haven’t paid enough attention to doing those two things simultaneously.”
On adding members to the Supreme Court:
“It is such a hypothetical for me right now, to be honest with you. That’s not something that I even have on my radar because there are so many other things that I’m thinking about. But I do think it is something that is, ‘Oh, look over here and not look at this,’ the kind of things that we ought to be working on, like COVID-19. So, I’m just not there with that question whatsoever. It’s something I would have to evaluate if it came to that.”
On the issue of abortion:
“I’ve seen a lot of words, things that I’ve been called, but I am pro-choice. What that means for me is either you’re pro-choice or you are anti-choice, because we should not as legislators at any level be interfering in what’s happening in a family’s life, the medical decisions that they make. So, I don’t know anybody who is pro-abortion, because I’ve seen situations where people have to make those tough choices about whether or not, what they’re going to do in these situations… I’ve said this so many times on the Senate floor [that] I don’t ever feel as if I’m capable of telling you and your wife or telling a woman, because I’m a legislator, that I somehow know the best thing for you to do and you don’t. But what I do believe we need to be paying much more attention to is doing everything we can so that people don’t face those choices.”
You can watch Elliott’s full conversation from the forum in the video below.