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Arkansas Senate District 1: Hester and Summers

Editor’s note: The City Wire will profile the 11 contested primary races for Arkansas House and Senate seats in the Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas areas. This link provides more detail on the candidates and legislative races in the two metro areas.

story by Aric Mitchell
amitchell@thecitywire.com

The GOP nomination to Arkansas Senate District 1 pits Rep. Tim Summers, R-Bentonville, against candidate Bart Hester in a contest that presents the former Democrat Summers against Hester, a newcomer to state politics.

The City Wire recently spoke with Summers and Hester about what makes each the best candidate for the position. While Summers emphasizes his political experience and his plan to boost the economy by helping small business, Hester believes his experience as a small businessman and his conservative convictions are key to the district.

On the number one issue District 1 faces, the men differed slightly with Summers stating "jobs and growing Northwest Arkansas' economy" and Hester pushing for lower taxation on citizens and corporations to spur entrepreneurship.

Hester believes when the 89th General Assembly resumes in 2013, the Medicaid shortfall will stand as the top issue, while Summers plans to tackle balancing the budget "in a fiscally conservative manner."

The City Wire asked the candidates to participate in a political survey. Full responses are listed below.

Bart Hester
• Why are you the better candidate for the position?
I am a small business owner, husband, and father of 3 children. I am a Christian Conservative that will stand firm on the core values of less taxing & government and for traditional family values (PRO-LIfe ). I support true transparency in Government. I demonstrate this by signing my name on pledges that align with my beliefs. In doing so any constituent can have 100% confidence in my stance on these issues. I signed a NO New Tax Pledge,  Pro-Life Pledge, and an expense Reimbursement Pledge. My opponent has refused to sign any of the above.

• What is the number one issue within your district?
I believe the #1 issue in Senate district # 1 is Taxing. I believe if we will tax our Citizens and Corporations less it will encourage entrepreneurship and expansion of business. Which adds jobs and that increase will directly affect the amount of people on social services. I will work diligently to lower the tax burden on hard working Arkansans.

• What is the top issue the 2013-2014 Arkansas General Assembly will face?
There are many important issues the 2013-2014 General Assembly will face. I believe the shortfall in Medicaid has to be among the top. With less taxing and increase in jobs we can take people off of social services and put them into the workforce.

Tim Summers
• Why are you the better candidate for the position?
I’m best qualified to handle the challenges our state faces. We must find ways to create jobs and grow Northwest Arkansas’ economy. I’m the only candidate to put forward a plan to do that. That plan includes lowering the tax rates on individual income, cutting taxes on capital gains, making sure the unemployment trust fund is solvent, and strengthening our workers compensation and tort laws for businesses of all sizes. I have the experience to do these things, but more importantly, I know how to do this while staying true to our Northwest Arkansas values.

• What is the number one issue within your district?
Creating jobs and growing Northwest Arkansas’ economy.

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• What is the top issue the 2013-2014 Arkansas General Assembly will face?
In these tough economic times, budget issues will be top on the list. We are required to balance our state’s budget and that must be done in a fiscally conservative manner. This will be front and center as we look for ways to cut taxes and live within our means while providing necessary services to our citizens.

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