Arkansas GOP chair hopes special session will focus on tax reform, defends Congressional redistricting maps

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 505 views 

The Republican Party of Arkansas chairwoman said she thinks the new Congressional maps will pass legal scrutiny despite the controversy over dividing Pulaski County into three different districts.

Jonelle Fulmer, the Arkansas GOP chair, was a guest on this weekend’s edition of Talk Business & Politics. For the first time since Reconstruction, Republicans controlled the state legislature and the once-a-decade Congressional redistricting process.

Fulmer said she didn’t see the party involving itself in any litigation that may arise, despite Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s reservations about the new map, which divides Pulaski County among three Congressional districts and Little Rock into two districts.

“I don’t see any reason that the party itself would be involved in any litigation, but as far as the carving out of some areas in Pulaski County, I think Republicans in the legislature gave some very careful consideration to that and we prefer of course, to keep communities together where we can.

“If you’ll remember 10 years ago, the Democrats divided five counties. This map divides two [counties] which maybe is making some progress. But those two areas that are carved out, they were very careful to pay attention to natural boundaries like the Interstate and the river. They were also very careful to ensure that areas that have common interests economically and areas of industry are kept together.

“I think that’s very important because we do have two Congressmen in those districts who sit on the transportation committee. So for areas of industry and that sector being so dependent on our transportation – whether it’s the port, the airport, the interstates – I think it’s very important that they have both of those voices at the national level and I think it gives them a competitive edge as well,” she said.

Late last week, Sen. Lance Eads, R-Springdale, resigned his Senate seat, which will create a special election. Fulmer said she would discuss with state and local party officials before determining if the state party would call for a convention process or special primary to choose a nominee.

She also said she hopes lawmakers will stick to Gov. Hutchinson’s call for a special session exclusively on tax reform.

“I think if they call the special session on tax reform, that should be what they address,” said Fulmer. “I’ve not looked at any of the bills they’re potentially going to be introduced, but I do think that our Republicans are very conscious of the hardworking Arkansans and their need for some relief.”

You can watch Fulmer’s full interview in the video below.