Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Jones, who cruised to victory on primary election night, said he will listen to all voices in the debate over safer schools – from gun access to mental health.
“First off, I never disregard any voices. You know, I think that the majority of the voices that we hear and I dare say, all of them, are coming from a place that they believe is correct and right. And I think it’s important for us to understand what that place is coming from. All of us want safe communities. I haven’t spoken with anyone or heard anyone who says that they don’t want safe communities. And I think it’s important for us to bring those voices to the table,” Jones said.
Jones said polling shows citizens want changes to gun access.
“There’s a lot of divisiveness in the rhetoric. There’s not so much divisiveness in what we believe works and what we want. You know, the majority of Arkansans want universal background checks. So that’s something that we can do. The majority of Arkansans want us to invest in mental health services. And that’s something we can do. The majority of Arkansans want to make sure that we don’t put guns, allow guns to be in the hands of violent criminals or those who have records. So that’s what they want to do. And the majority of Arkansans don’t want guns with no serial numbers on them being passed in dark alleys. So those are things that we can do,” he said.
Jones said if he is governor, he wants to find ways to bring people from diverse opinions together to find constructive solutions. He said listening to others has been lost in the current political atmosphere.
“I’m concerned about Sarah Sanders’s rhetoric around guns. I’m concerned about her not saying, ‘you know, let’s pause and have the moment.’ And let’s really, you know, be honest with each other and be willing to listen to everyone, even if they disagree. You know, far too often, we label each other and we push each other in the corners and that doesn’t get us the solutions. Now we need to hold fast to our values and keeping our kids safe is a value. And yet, in holding fast to our values, we can still have an honest conversation with each other,” he said.
Jones won the Democratic nomination on Tuesday, May 24th defeating four other rivals in the gubernatorial primary. He collected more than 70% of the vote and will face Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Libertarian Ricky Dale Harrington in November.
“First of all, congratulations to Sarah and to Ricky for, you know, winning their nomination. And when I think about the road ahead, you know, one thing engaging requires that we have conversations. You know, I think it’s important that all of us have conversations with Arkansans, with the media, and that’s one of the things I’m concerned about. I’m concerned that she won’t show up and have those conversations. We will still show up and we will still present a contrast because I think this is what Arkansans are facing. And it’s both an ideological contrast, a difference between, you know, a movement towards faith, hope and hard work versus a movement towards fear, hate and cronyism,” he said.
Jones begins a tour of the state this coming week called the “Walk A Mile In Your Shoes Tour,” where he plans to walk a mile in counties across Arkansas. You can watch his full interview in the video below.