Democrats have a new candidate to try to unseat Republican incumbent Congressman French Hill in the 2024 election cycle.
Marcus Jones, a retired Army Colonel, announced his candidacy two weeks ago. He served military stints in a variety of locations across the U.S. and has overseas experience in Norway and South Korea. He must win the Democratic primary, but currently he is the only announced party candidate for the 2nd Congressional District seat that covers much of Central Arkansas.
Jones contends the Democratic Party is much more representative of America and its diverse viewpoints than the GOP, and he’s hoping his military background can make inroads into a voter base that has sided more Republican in elections.
“What I find most interesting is our Republican colleagues have for a long time spun a narrative about how they’re the party of national defense and they’re the party of the military. They’ve done such a good job that Democrats have believed it,” Jones said on this week’s Capitol View TV program. “One of the things I’m trying to do as I go and engage throughout the district is – to those connections that have atrophied – is try to reestablish those ties. Because the Army in particular is the most diverse organization in the world. It’s drawn from all walks of life, every faith group, every zip code. It’s tough to grow up in that professionally and not be exposed to a lot of different points of view.”
Jones, who was born in Newport and grew up in Jonesboro, said he’s disappointed in Hill’s voting record to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to oppose President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure plan known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“What inspired me to do run is that I’m a husband, a father, and I was a 29-year army veteran and very fortunate for me that my last assignment brought us back here to central Arkansas. We were able to come back here, put down roots, and we’re excited to be back in the state after having been gone. But what I saw when I got here, quite frankly, I’m not sure my same experience would be available to an average B student, middle class, working class kid just based on the opportunities that I don’t see being delivered by our current incumbent.”
“A perfect example is that when we start to look at the infrastructure that underpins everything that we’re doing, and then we see our incumbents not vote for a $4 billion investment into the state. I’m not a banker as he is, but if someone offers you $4 billion in a bipartisan way, it seems like it would be in Arkansas’ best interest to take it,” Jones said.
He also offered his take on the three week ordeal Republicans in Congress went through in selecting a new Speaker of the House. After ousting Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Republicans failed to select three other nominees before choosing Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La.
“It was a national embarrassment of the Republicans making and the worst part of it is it happened at a time where we should be focused on what we’re going to do to continue to assist Ukraine, what we’re going to do to assist Israel, the aid package that we may be looking at to go to Gaza. And worst of all, we’re within a month of the government shutting down again,” Jones said. “And we lost all of that time while the Republicans went through. It was almost like who wants to be the speaker? Everybody show up rather than seeking a viable bipartisan option. We continued with election deniers and what we finally wound up with, I think, is not too different than [Rep.] Jim Jordan. Just a little more polished and he wears his suit jacket.”
You can watch Jones’ full interview in the video below.