French Hill's wife takes questions: No private option lobbyist, she says | Arkansas Blog

French Hill's wife takes questions: No private option lobbyist, she says

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SPOUSAL DEFENSE: Martha Hill answers questions about her husband, French, the Republican congressional candidate.
  • SPOUSAL DEFENSE: Martha Hill answers questions about her husband, French, the Republican congressional candidate.
A letter circulating in Hot Springs Village appears to be a response from Martha Hill, a Little Rock lawyer and wife of Republican 2nd District candidate French Hill, to questions and criticism arising from Republican opponents' campaigns.

Chief among these is response to the contention that Hill is somehow soft on Obamacare because his wife is a registered lobbyist. I can't confirm the validity of the document. The Hill campaign typically doesn't respond to our calls. But it reads true.

For example:

There are some people who are saying that Martha is a lobbyist for an organization that wanted the "Private Option".

No, that is not correct. I am an attorney who works in the regulated businesses  section of a Little Rock law firm. I represent clients before state agencies and follow  state legislative action. I did not work for the Private Option.

Most importantly, French is a businessman and job creator. He is the only businessman and job creator in the race. He opposes ObamaCare and its  implementation in Arkansas, including the private option. 

I don't know a thing about the specifics of Martha Hill's lobbying work. But she works for the Mitchell Williams law firm, which has a huge insurance industry practice. She also filed as a lobbyist for such clients as Senior Care, Sisters of Mercy Health System, United Health Care and other insurance interests. Hospitals, medical providers and insurance companies were without exception supporters of implementing Obamacare in Arkansas in some form, including the ultimately approved private option version of Medicaid expansion. If she and her husband are ardent opponents of the private option, they are at least biting hands that feed them.

The document also responds to a criticism that Hill is a tax-and-spend liberal because of his leadership of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Let me answer that: Hah! The chamber? Liberal? This is all about the chamber's role in support of a city half-cent sales tax increase. It is not "liberal" to champion a regressive city sales tax on poor folks' hamburgers and to kick back some of it to pay the salaries of chamber lobbyists who fight for weak workers comp, against unions, for corporate tax preferences and, yes, against universal health care. Again: Liberal? Hah! The chamber did support the city's $50 million-a-year sales tax increase and I'll confess this liberal supported elements of the proposal simply because the city's needs were great and another means of raising the money wasn't readily at hand.  I'll still defend Hill on this one.

You can read the rest of it here.
 It includes a response to silly jokes about candidate Hill's given name, an old family name.

I just wished they'd asked Mizriz Hill for the genealogical rundown I've long been seeking on Hill's 9th-generation Arkansas roots — a record among the many Republican candidates citing their multi-generational ties to the state. (Given the state's less than stellar record of achievement over the last century or so, you might do better to claim newcomer status lest you get tagged with guilt by association with your underachieving ancestors.)

French Hill faces Rep. Ann Clemmer and Colonel Reynolds in the GOP primary for the right to oppose Democrat Patrick Henry Hays and others in the fall.


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