by Max Brantley
Does the endorsement of James Lee Witt, Bill Clinton's FEMA director, now a bigtime lobbyist/consultant, help Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross? Surely it will in Wildcat Holler.
Or is Bill Halter's Arkansas Promise more of a winner?
James Lee Witt of Dardanelle, Ark., former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under President Clinton, has endorsed Mike Ross for Governor. Witt is also the former director of the Arkansas Office of Emergency Services (now the Department of Emergency Management) and a former long-time Democratic Yell County judge. Ross, a former small business owner, state senator and U.S. Congressman, is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor of Arkansas.
“Mike Ross is a battle-tested leader with a history of pushing politics aside, rolling up his sleeves and finding commonsense, practical and bipartisan solutions that tackle the challenges at hand,” said Witt. “I have known Mike Ross for many years as a state senator, U.S. Congressman and as a friend and he is a workhorse with a long history of results for the people of Arkansas. I have seen governors tested in crisis situations and know what it takes, and I know Mike Ross is the type of strong, steady leader who will serve Arkansas well as its next governor.”
“James Lee Witt served our state and nation with integrity and I am honored to have his support,” said Mike Ross. “When James Lee arrived at FEMA in 1993 with President Clinton, he turned the embattled agency around making it the most effective it has ever been in its history. James is the model public servant and has made Arkansas proud, and I will always deeply value his advice and counsel.”
“When I’m elected governor, I will work day and night to fight for the people of Arkansas and focus on our future — preparing for the challenges and opportunities that await this great state,” said Ross.
Ross has previously been endorsed by the Southern States Millwright Regional Council and the Central South Carpenters Regional Council, affiliates that represent more than 10,000 carpenters, and the Arkansas Professional Fire Fighters, along with numerous business owners, community leaders and working families around the state.