U.S. Senate forum draws Democrat opposed to new health care law

Some of the most conservative, anti-Washington D.C. comments from a panel of six candidates in the race for U.S. Senate came from the lone Democrat — whose name, ironically, is D.C. Morrison.

Morrison, who will face U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in the Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate, referred to global warming as “junk science” and said the recently passed health care bill should be repealed.

“I’m a conservative and I’m on the Democratic ticket ... and I’m opposed to government-run health care 100%,” said Morrison, who grew up as a cotton farmer and is now an agri loan consultant living in Little Rock.

As to the Waxman-Markey bill (clean energy act often referred to as cap and trade legislation), Morrison said: “It’s just a way to tear down our society.”

Morrison also attacked Lincoln for taking credit for the $7.5 million in stimulus money that will be used to upgrade a water supply for about 29,000 residents in eastern Sebastian County and Franklin County. He said she brags about the money but “she goes to China to borrow that money” with the borrowings to be paid for in higher future taxes.

As a reminder, Morrison is running on the Democratic ticket.

The exposition of Morrison’s conservative leanings came courtesy of a Fort Smith forum held Monday afternoon and sponsored by the Fort Smith League of Women Voters. The U.S. Senate candidates attending the event were Republican Randy Alexander of Springdale; State Sen. Gilbert Baker, R-Conway; U.S. Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers; State Sen. Kim Hendren, R-Gravette; Morrison; and Republican Conrad Reynolds of Conway.

All of the candidates, including Morrison, were opposed to proposed cap and trade legislation, proposed Card Check rules that would allow for easier unionization and the federal health care bill. About the only area where Morrison disagreed with the Republicans was on supporting elimination of the estate tax.

All the Republican candidates were for tighter immigration rules and opposed amnesty for illegals. However, Alexander suggested Republicans and Democrats are at fault for what he perceives as a flawed national immigration policy. He said Republicans are after “cheap labor,” and Democrats are after “cheap votes.”

Most of Hendren’s responses to questions were used to rant about the “self-appointed experts” in Washington who seek only to control Americans through agency regulations and the tax code.

In response to questions about taxes, Baker and Boozman — considered the frontrunners in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate — held fast to the party line and said taxes and government regulation are out of control.

“The only way we’re going to shrink government is to cut off the food supply (taxes),” Baker told the small crowd of about 30.

Boozman said uncertainty related to how the new health care law will be implemented and uncertainty about the costs of cap and trade legislation create hesitancy among businesses and individuals.

“That’s (uncertainty) a huge drag on the economy,” Boozman said.

Baker and Boozman seek repeal or cutting off funding to key provisions of the new federal health care law. Boozman said after November the Republicans will have enough votes to kill funding to new bureaucracies necessary to implementation. Baker said repeal may be possible after the new law is defunded, with tort reform and greater insurance competition as key elements in a new approach to health care reform.

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In their closing comments, Alexander and Reynolds took shots at the perceived establishment candidates Baker and Boozman. Alexander said he wants to go to Washington to fight to reduce the size of government and the size of government debt.

“I think the time for compromise is over,” Alexander said.

Reynolds said the GOP primary election provides voters a choice between career politicians and non-politicians.

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