story and info compiled by Aric Mitchell
Editor’s note: Of the 32 legislative districts in the Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas areas, 15 are contested in the Nov. 6 general election. During the next few days, The City Wire will profile each contested race. Link here for information on the House and Senate districts in the two regions, and the associated candidates.
The race for Arkansas House of Representatives District 89 pits candidates Yessie Hernandez (D) and Micah Neal (R) against each other in a contest that for Neal, will be about job creation and tax relief.
Neal said his goal "is to help working people keep more of their money to help with the high prices of items that have occurred in this economic climate," adding that under the system today, "people making $33,000 are paying the top rate in Arkansas."
"This needs to be adjusted," Neal added.
These responses were part of a survey conducted by The City Wire in anticipation of the 15 contested state legislative races. Candidates were asked about the top issues in their district, legislative goals for the next term and why each believes they are the right candidate for the position. They were also asked to answer “Yes,” “No,” or “Don’t Know” to a range of issues likely to surface in the 2013-2014 General Assembly.
Neal's full, unedited responses are below. Hernandez chose not to participate.
• What are the top issues in your district?
Jobs is the top issue in my district.
• What are your legislative goals for your next term if elected?
My goal is to help working people keep more of their money to help with the high prices of items that have occurred in this economic climate. Under our current system, people making $33,000 are paying the top rate in Arkansas. This needs to be adjusted so that they are able to have more take home pay to help with the bills.
• Why do you think you are the best person to represent your district?
I have almost 9 years of legislative experience as a former Justice of the Peace in Washington County. I have personal relationships with Senator Boozman, Congressman Womack, Mayor Sprouse and several others in Washington County and Springdale city government. I also have built relationships with several members in the business community with the interaction at my restaurant in Springdale.
YES-NO-DON’T KNOW RESPONSE - Neal
Each candidate was asked to provide a yes, no or don’t know response to the following four questions. Anything other than one of the three responses was not accepted.
• If budget conditions allow, would you vote for renewal of the Quick Action Closing Fund?
• Are you for the Nov. 6 ballot item that would raise the Arkansas sales tax rate by a half-cent (0.5%) to fund more than $1.8 billion in Arkansas road improvements during the next 10 years?
• Would you support tougher ethics laws for Arkansas Legislators?
• Would you support expansion of Arkansas’s Medicaid program using federal dollars as part of the new federal healthcare law?