by Max Brantley
Joe White, the Democrat running for Senate against incumbent Sen. Gilbert Baker, a Republican, says Baker is out of touch. With the economy, by general agreement, leading all other topics on the minds of voters, Baker has proposed a constitutional amendment to .... end partisan election of sheriffs?
You tell me.
JOE WHITE NEWS RELEASE
Conway, AR – The Joe White for State Senate campaign today responded to a constitutional amendment proposed by Senator Gilbert Baker. Baker's plan calls for making county sheriffs across Arkansas a non partisan office. The proposal would be voted on by Arkansans in 2010.
"At a time when the people of Faulkner County are struggling with job losses and high gas prices, Senator Baker is for some reason focused on county sheriffs," White campaign manager Alex Bissell said. "Faulkner County needs a Senator who will take charge to solve the issues they face. Joe White is focused on bringing new jobs to Faulkner County; putting his business experience to work for a better economy. Senator Baker lacks focus. People are hurting right now. Baker just doesn't get it."
Joe White released a plan to bring jobs to Faulkner County earlier this week. It calls for creating incentives to attract renewable energy jobs, eliminating completely the utilities tax on manufacturers, and investing in new roads and infrastructure.
BAKER NEWS RELEASE
"There is a time for partisanship, bi-partisanship, and non-partisanship. Our local county sheriffs should have 4 year terms and should be taken out of politics and elected on a non-partisan basis. Protecting people is not a republican or democrat issue," stated Sen. Baker.
The proposal, in draft form, will be presented as a proposed constitutional amendment to the legislature. If successful at the legislative level, the people of Arkansas would be able to vote on the amendment in the 2010 election cycle.
According to Baker, "We have partisan elections for legislative positions during election season, we then work in a bi-partisan way at the Capitol to get things done. When it comes to law enforcement and protecting people, we should move to a non-partisan status like most of our municipalities have done. I think this would do a lot to free our sheriffs to focus more on the job at hand."