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General election endorsements

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GOV. MIKE BEEBE is a capable and cautious middle-of-the-roader who's managed state government nicely in his first term. Other than general competence, he's probably best known for cutting the sales tax on groceries, as he promised during his first campaign, but wisely declining to remove the tax entirely until the state can handle the revenue loss. He's well worth keeping.

SEN. BLANCHE LINCOLN has voted for better health care, abortion rights, and aid to children and families. Professed liberals who say she's no better than Boozman are gravely mistaken, at best.

JOYCE ELLIOTT is a proven progressive, like the man she hopes to succeed, U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder. As a state senator, the former schoolteacher has been a great friend of public education, and of the underprivileged. Her opponent, Griffin, worked for Karl Rove, played political dirty tricks in Florida, and conspired to get a reputable U.S. attorney fired so that he could grab the job for himself. Not somebody you'd want to turn your back on, much less send to Congress.

CIRCUIT JUDGE TIM FOX for the Arkansas Supreme Court. He's ruled wisely and fearlessly in tough cases, including his finding that a state rule prohibiting homosexual parents from serving as foster parents was unconstitutional. The Religious Right is pushing for his opponent.

SHANE BROADWAY for lieutenant governor. An experienced, competent and forward-looking legislator, Broadway is probably over-qualified for this office, but term limits are forcing him out of the legislative branch. His opponent believes that health care is too cheap and plentiful; he says he'll sue to put a stop it.

PAT O'BRIEN for secretary of state. Though given to goofiness, like book reports for employees, he seems to have brought honesty and efficiency to the Pulaski County circuit clerk's office. His opponent is best known for padding his legislative expense account.

DEBBIE MURPHY for state representative, District 31. Public-spirited and reasonable, she's opposed by a right-wing ideologue.

CAROLYN STALEY for state representative, District 32. An associate pastor at Pulaski Heights Baptist Church with a wealth of experience in public service, she has hands-on experience in the work of better educating workers for today's jobs.

JOHN W. WALKER for state representative, District 34. The state's foremost civil rights warrior, he will at the least make legislative sessions livelier.

SHERIFF DOC HOLLADAY for sheriff. Cool-headed and cooperative, he's dealt with Pulaski County's shortage of jail beds about as well as could be.

Three proposed constitutional amendments are on the ballot. All were referred by the legislature. Issue No. 1 would establish a constitutional right to hunt and fish. Proponents say that such an amendment is needed to head off legislation that would restrict hunting and fishing rights. Animal- rights groups have promoted such legislation. Ten states have established a right to hunt and fish; two more have established a right to fish. Our view is that this is not the sort of thing that belongs in an already cluttered constitution. What's next? A right to jog? A right to golf? Vote NO.

Issue No. 2 is a complex and far-reaching proposition that would raise the interest rate that can be charged by retailers, remove entirely the interest limit on government bonds, and provide a new way for government agencies to finance bonds for energy-efficiency projects. We might be able to support one or two of its aims if each was voted on separately, but not this confused hodge-podge. Vote NO.

Issue No. 3 would make it easier for the state to issue general-obligation bonds to help industrialists build new plants. We're not totally convinced of the need. No recommendation.

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