Lt. Gov. Bill Halter's lottery campaign announces mayors and county judges who support the idea.
Little Rock - Mayors and county judges from across Arkansas have thrown their support behind a proposed constitutional amendment to bring a scholarship lottery to the state, Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter announced today.
“The endorsement of so many local elected officials, representing a broad economic and geographical base, is a tremendous boost for HOPE for Arkansas’s initiative to provide greater opportunities for tens of thousands of Arkansans to go to college,” Halter said.
Halter announced May 13 that HOPE for Arkansas had gathered the 77,468 signatures of registered voters required to qualify the amendment for the November general election ballot. The amendment authorizes the Arkansas General Assembly to establish a lottery to fund college scholarships and grants for Arkansans attending certified two-year and four-year colleges and universities in the state.
”I have friends and neighbors who regularly purchase out-of-state lottery tickets. I favor them having the opportunity to invest in Arkansas students through a scholarship lottery,” Springdale Mayor Jerre Van Hoose said of his decision to endorse the initiative.
Harrison Mayor Pat Moles said: “Cities and towns in north Arkansas lose money whenever residents cross the Missouri line to play the lottery. If you’re going to buy a lottery ticket, you should be able to buy it in Arkansas. We need to keep Arkansas money in Arkansas, supporting higher education in our state.”
In east Arkansas, Forrest City Mayor Gordon McCoy said he backs a scholarship lottery because of the people it will help.
“Many Arkansas families, especially in the Delta, are having a tough time. They’re paying more for food, gas and medicine, and that makes it hard to save enough to send their children to college,” McCoy said. “These are the people who would benefit most from the lottery.”
Union County Judge Bobby Edmonds also expressed support. “The El Dorado Promise scholarship program in my hometown has been a huge success in getting students excited about academics and the opportunity to earn a college degree,” Edmonds said. “I believe a scholarship lottery would have the same positive impact across Arkansas.”
In southwest Arkansas, Sevier County Judge Dick Tallman said institutions of higher education stand to gain. “What I like about this proposal is that lottery proceeds would fund scholarships for students enrolled in both two-year and four-year colleges in Arkansas. That’s great news for Cossatot Community College here in De Queen.”
Mayors in Arkansas endorsing the scholarship lottery amendment are:
· Augusta Mayor Jimmy Rhodes
· Brinkley Mayor Barbara Skouras
· Charleston Mayor Sherman Hiatt
· Farmington Mayor Ernie Penn
· Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody
· Fordyce Mayor William C. Lyon
· Forrest City Mayor Gordon McCoy
· Harrison Mayor Pat Moles
· Helena-West Helena Mayor James Valley
· Lonoke Mayor Wayne McGee
· Madison Mayor Bobby Hardrick
· Marked Tree Mayor Dixon Chandler
· Mena Mayor George McKee
· Mountain View Mayor Jim Cash
· Siloam Springs Mayor M.L. Van Poucke Jr.
· Springdale Mayor Jerre Van Hoose
· Stuttgart Mayor Marianne Maynard
· White Hall Mayor James “Jitters” Morgan.
County Judges in Arkansas endorsing the scholarship lottery amendment are:
· Benton County Judge Gary Black
· Carroll County Judge Richard Williams
· Columbia County Judge Larry Atkinson
· Desha County Judge Mark McElroy
· Fulton County Judge Charles Willett
· Lonoke County Judge Charlie Troutman
· Perry County Judge True Robinson
· Phillips County Judge Don Gentry
· Poinsett County Judge Doyle Hillis
· Randolph County Judge David Jansen
· Sevier County Judge Dick Tallman
· Van Buren County Judge Robert Bramlett
· Union County Judge Bobby Edmonds
In addition, the Scholarship Lottery has the support of major labor organizations in Arkansas. These include the state AFL-CIO and its member unions, representing more than 30,000 Arkansans; the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 2008, 5,300 members; the Teamsters, Local 878, 3,300 members; the Arkansas Regional Council of Carpenters, 1,500 members; and the Service Employees International Union, Local 100, 500 members.
Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas are among the 42 states that have lotteries. All net proceeds from these border-state lotteries support public education.