It’s no secret that the Arkansas Times has been a frequent critic of mine throughout my time in public service. Given the Times’ position as the state’s leading journal of liberal opinion, I appreciate Max Brantley’s evenhandedness in offering a conservative candidate like me the opportunity to discuss the type of governor I would be for Arkansas.
While the editors of the Times — and much of the paper’s readership — may not agree with all of my policy positions, they do know where I stand and that they will get straightforward answers from me.
I do not believe my opponent can say the same — even when it comes to dealing with supportive liberal news outlets such as the Times, and the liberal readers who are putting their hopes in Mike Beebe.
On a full range of issues — from taxes to education to the question of life — Mr. Beebe has been evasive, vague and less than forthright with the voters of Arkansas. At times, he seems to be outright contradictory, saying one thing to one group and another thing to another group if he thinks it will win him votes.
Take one example, published recently in these pages. When the Arkansas Times revealed that Mr. Beebe had met with an organization of gay Democrats, behind closed doors, and promised to support gay foster parenting, Mr. Beebe subsequently denied it.
The accuracy of that story seems to be confirmed by what happened next — the gay organization withdrew its endorsement of Mr. Beebe based on his unwillingness, after consulting with pollsters, to stand by the promises he had made to them.
These are not the actions of a leader who remains true to his supporters or to his promises. And it’s a pattern that has emerged again and again over the course of this campaign.
For instance, both my opponent and I claim that we want to eliminate the grocery tax. Mr. Beebe had 20 years to take action, and it never got done. Just a few years ago, he campaigned to keep this very tax on the books.
Why the election-year shift? And can we truly expect Mr. Beebe to hold true to this election-year commitment if elected?
Another controversy recently sparked by my opponent is when he falsely asserted that I had opposed the minimum wage increase in Arkansas. Mr. Beebe knows this is patently false, and yet he sent out a mass mailing to thousands of Arkansas voters to try to deceive them about my record.
One thing that distinguishes me from my opponent is that I will not make certain promises to one segment of the community, and then make conflicting promises to others.
I will not dodge and attempt to hide my positions.
I will not make policy to please this special interest or that powerful lobbyist.
My door will always be open, and I will govern based on my campaign promises as well as the views, advice and suggestions of all Arkansans. That’s the type of governor Arkansas deserves, and the type I intend to be.
Asa Hutchinson is the Republican nominee for governor. Max Brantley is on vacation.