Arkansas Senate District 5: Coleman and King

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 primary battle for the GOP nomination to Arkansas Senate District 5 pits candidate Bill Coleman of Mountainburg against Rep. Bryan King, R-Green Forest, in a contest between two candidates, who agree that "jobs and the economy" are the biggest issues the district will face.

With no Democrat in the race, the winner of the primary will capture the Senate District 5 seat.

The City Wire recently spoke with Coleman and King about what makes each the best candidate for the position. Coleman touted real world experience, while King believes his past voting record as a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives is key.

Concerning the biggest issue the 89th General Assembly will face in 2013, Coleman wants to focus on economic development, while King hopes to address the state's budget and the potential $400 million Medicaid shortfall.

The candidates participated in a political survey from The City Wire. Full responses are listed below.

Bill Coleman
• Why are you the better candidate for the position?
My real world experience makes me the better candidate for Senate District 5. I have owned a successful small business for over 37 years. I am also cattle farmer. I am aware of the hard work and sacrifices our farmers make to bring food to our tables. I know how government can help or hinder our small family farms. As a past member of the Board of Directors of Western Arkansas Mountain Frontier, I worked hard to promote tourism in our area. I have been instrumental in developing a new rural water system serving 500 families in eastern Crawford County & NW Franklin County.

• What is the number one issue within your district?
Jobs and the economy are the number one issues in our area. Small business growth and expansion is the main way to create jobs and improve the economy in our rural district. I know firsthand how government can help small businesses grow and how too much government interference and taxation can stop that growth. We need to continue to improve educational opportunities for our children. An educated and well trained workforce will attract businesses to our area.  This keeps our best resource, our children, here. As a state we need to promote tourism, creating many jobs along the way.

• What is the top issue the 2013-2014 Arkansas General Assembly will face?
The top issue of the next legislative session should be economic development. If we can encourage and facilitate economic growth within Arkansas, it will solve many of the other issues facing the state. Jobs will be created. This will increase additional revenues for the state and reduce the number of people dependent on state services. We will need to review all departmental spending and cut out unnecessary spending, just as every family has to do during tough economic times. This helps insure funding the basic needs of our state and citizens, without slowing job growth.

Rep. Bryan King, R-Green Forest
• Why are you the better candidate for the position?
Experience. My business experience and legislative experience will be an asset to Senate district 5. I have one of the most conservative voting records and have been a leader in fighting Government spending. I have a record of getting things done. I was the lead sponsor on the voter ID requirement bill that would have brought much needed reform to elections. This bill passed the House of Representatives with support from Democrats and Republicans.

• What is the number one issue within your district?
Jobs and the Economy. Our State and Senate district 5 faces tough economic times. I have fought for funding highways from General Revenue so that Interstate 49 can become a reality. I have voted for the largest tax cuts in Arkansas history. We need to continue to cut the sales tax on energy for businesses and cut the capital gains tax to encourage investment.

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• What is the top issue the 2013-2014 Arkansas General Assembly will face?
Addressing the State’s budget will the top issue. The State’s Medicaid crisis will be an important issue in the next legislative session. K-12 education, Colleges and Universities, and State Agencies funding comes from the State’s budget.

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