by Max Brantley
The ethics news just keeps coming.
Zac White, a Heber Springs Democrat who's running for state Senate, says he'll be hitting courthouses and civic clubs in his district to gather signatures on petitions to put the ethics reform initiative on the ballot.
Maybe his Republican opponent, Sen. Missy Irvin, could round up a posse with Lt. Gov. Mark Darr, Rep. Nate Bell (fresh off a concealed carry permit class) and other foes of stronger ethics laws to trail White and discourage signers — a la the Chamber of Commerce intimidation campaaign against the gas severance tax petitions.
Heber Springs resident and local state senate candidate William “Zac” White will be petitioning voters to sign the Ethics Reform ballot initiative today at the Stone County Courthouse and tomorrow at the Cleburne County Courthouse. In addition, White will be attending local civic group meetings to also circulate the petition to gather
signatures. After joining the bipartisan effort to place a sweeping ethics reform initiative on the November ballot in Arkansas, White has actively talked to voters all across his north central Arkansas district to raise public
awareness to bring about campaign finance and lobbying reform for elected officials in the state of Arkansas.
“I believe in honest and transparent government, which is why it is important we get this ethics reform bill on the ballot come November,” said White. “I’m proud to be part of a committee comprised of former Senator
Dale Bumpers, former Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt, and former Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter.”
White was the first announced candidate for state office to be on the committee and to publicly support the ethics reform ballot initiative. He is running to represent the people of State Senate District 18, which includes
nine north-central Arkansas counties: all of Cleburne, Stone and Searcy; south Baxter and Marion; western Fulton and White; east Van Buren; and, northern Faulkner counties.
“If you believe our elected officials should be listening to the people who elected them – not accepting gifts and campaign contributions from special interest groups trying to buy their votes, I ask that you come on down to the county courthouse and sign this petition.”
White is helping lead the statewide effort to obtain roughly 60,000 signatures of registered voters required to put the ethics initiative on the statewide ballot for voters to consider. The group has until the first week of July to gather the necessary signatures.
The ethics reform bill would create greater transparency of campaign finances by banning direct corporate and union contributions to state campaigns; requiring a two-year removal from office before a legislator could become a lobbyist; and, prohibit lobbyists from providing any gifts to legislators.
“We simply want to get ethics reform on the November ballot and let the voters decide whether or not to hold our election officials to a higher standard,” said White. “I decided to run for the State Senate to give the people of north-central Arkansas a voice and to fight for them in Little Rock. Even though I’m only a candidate, I still want to do everything I can to make our state government more transparent and more effective. It’s time for the people to take back their government from lobbyists and special interests, and I’m proud to help lead this bipartisan fight to do just
Those interested in more information about the ethics reform bill can visit www.betterethics2012.com. White said he will also have information about the initiative on his website www.whiteforsenate.com.