by Max Brantley
Gary Latanich, the Arkansas State economics professor who's seeking the Democratic nomination for 1st District Congress, is stepping up the rhetoric in seeking a debate with his opponent, state Rep. Clark Hall of Marvell. Hall reportedly has said maybe.
Realistically speaking, a debate is going to happen. The candidates need whatever exposure they can get in the sprawling district for the challenge to incumbent Republican Rep. Rick Crawford.
Already at play in this race is the perennial Delta issue of race. Hall is being questioned from some liberal quarters about the fact that his children have attended private schools — Marvell Academy and Desoto School in West Helena — rather than the overwhelmingly black public schools in Marvell.
Marvell Academy was founded as a result of federal enforcement of desegregation in the mid-1960s and it is one of the segregation academies of the era that continues to associate for athletic purposes with an association of Mississippi private schools. The private school is virtually all white. Marvell public schools, in which Hall's wife has taught, are about 10 percent white. Hall was mayor of Marvell, which is about two-thirds black, before he was elected to the legislature.
Gary Latanich Challenges Clark Hall to Debate the Issues Important to 1st District Arkansans. Clark Hall responds: “Maybe”
You want to see a career politician in full retreat? Try to hold him accountable! Saturday at the 69th annual Gillett Coon Supper, Rep. Clark Hall, to quote one observer, “was more elusive than a raccoon in Arkansas County.”
You see, earlier in the week, Gary Latanich sent Clark Hall's campaign a request to schedule a debate, to discuss where the candidates stand on issues important to the voters of 1st district.
Gary understands the need for bringing more well paying jobs to Eastern Arkansas, and he has a plan for that. He thinks we should strengthen our support for veterans, make healthcare accessible, and protect Social Security. And he has plans for that as well. More than anything, he recognizes that our government is failing us right now because career politicians are looking out for themselves instead for the rest of us.
As an educator who has spent the last 30 years teaching at Arkansas State, Gary has seen first-hand the connections between a strong community, a quality education, and good jobs. During that same time, Clark Hall has been running for office after office, putting himself in a position to draw his own Congressional District to make his bid this year. And now he expects your vote without explaining his plans for you. So while we are waiting for Clark Hall to give us more than a maybe, Gary Latanich wants you to know that in the coming weeks, he’ll step up to the plate by releasing his plans for creating Jobs, supporting Veterans, making Healthcare accessible and protecting Social Security.
Gary Latanich is ready to work for the people of Arkansas’ 1st district.
For more information about Gary and his plans for Arkansas see: www.garylatanich.com & facebook.com/garylatanich
Gary Latanich is a professor of economics and the director of the Center for Economic Education; he has been a member of the faculty of Arkansas State University since 1981. He holds a PhD from the University of Nebraska and is a former assistant dean and MBA director in the College of Business, a member of former Governor Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers, and past president of the Missouri Valley Economic Association. Contributing economics editor for the Jonesboro Sun, 1991 -2011.
A military veteran, Gary enlisted in the Air Force and served 4 years in Vietnam from 1966-1970. In 1969 he was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for meritorious service.
Gary is married to his wife of 39 years, Rosemary. They have five children and live in Jonesboro, Arkansas.