Natalie James, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, expressed a wide variety of opinions in her first Talk Business & Politics interview since winning on primary election night.
She defeated Dan Whitfield and Jack Foster in the Democratic primary with 54% of the vote, avoiding a runoff. This fall, she will face incumbent GOP U.S. Sen. John Boozman and Libertarian Kenneth Cates.
James, of Little Rock, has been active at the state capitol in recent years on issues. She said she would work across the aisle to achieve bipartisan results on gun control and curtailing corporate greed, which she blamed for aspects of inflation.
“It’s important that we realize as a gun owner and as a mother, that, yes, I do believe that you have your right to carry that’s fine, but it should not abridge my right to be able to go and live my life, my children to go to school, my mother to go to church, my sisters to drive down the street, that shouldn’t be taken away from somebody who quite frankly is underage and not of the cognitive ability to understand the ramifications of their actions and have the mental acuity,” James said.
“I’m a gun owner, so I’m not against you having your constitutional right. But what I am against is not being able to have the choice of whether I can go to my grocery store and stay on alert. That’s not my job. That’s not what I’m choosing to do. My job is to be a realtor. My job is to be a voice for the people of the State of Arkansas, not to worry about, do I need to look over my shoulder? Is this car that’s pulling up next to me going to end my life because they’re having a bad day or they’re having a bad feeling or things aren’t being addressed properly at home,” she added.
James said reproductive rights for women, which is expected to be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court later this month in a landmark decision to reverse Roe v. Wade, will add to the institutional mistrust that permeates federal authority already.
“I think it’s going to add to the distrust that we’re already seeing and feeling from our state, from our nation and from our trust and our actual government. I feel it’s going to mess with the integrity because, quite frankly, the Supreme Court’s job is to abide by the Constitution. And I feel if we do that [reverse Roe v. Wade], it’s going to send us on a, not the trajectory that we’re wanting,” she said. “I do think we should trust women. I do think we should codify Roe. I do think that we have been trusting women for the longest of our times, our mothers, our sisters, our community leaders, our teachers, our church goers and our volunteers. I think we should continue to do that.”
James also said that some of the inflationary pressures that have dominated the economy the past year can be squarely placed on corporate greed. If elected, she wants to actively support a $15 per hour minimum wage.
“A living wage is a sustainable wage is going to be something where we just need to start. Right now in Arkansas, the cost of living, the average person making $14 an hour can barely pay rent, barely pay for groceries. God forbid they have a car loan or student loans or anything else, or they have childcare. It puts them in a bigger predicament. So I think we should start out having it at $15 an hour,” she said. “I think that will help tremendously on where we’re seeing in other areas with healthcare, education, and this rise in gun violence. When you are in a stressful situation, you make really bad decisions.”
You can watch James’ full interview in the video below.